Jun 29 AT 3:42 PM Alberto Vildosola 29 Comments

Video: OnLive CEO unveils the wireless technology of the future; 100x capacity, no more cell towers

Not happy with just showing us the future of video gaming and web browsing, OnLive CEO Steve Perlman also wants to shake up the wireless industry. During a presentation at Columbia University, Steve revealed an “entirely new approach to wireless.” His company, Rearden, has been working on a new wireless technology that’s miles ahead of everything out there today.

Steve starts by describing the fundamental problem wireless networks face today. Basically, there’s a limit to the amount of data that can be transmitted over a certain spectrum. If you’ve ever tried to send a text or call someone in a very crowded place, you already know what I’m talking about. There’s just not enough capacity for everybody to use at the same time. This limit is described by Shannon’s Law, which you can read more about here if you like.

That’s where Rearden’s new wireless technology comes in. Sadly, this wireless technology is incompatible with anything that is used today. So we can forget about using it with our “Droids” any time soon. The technology uses new radios and antennas that are simpler, cheaper and use less processing power than today’s wireless radios. Hopefully, this means we’ll no longer have to choose between 4G speeds and battery life.

Steve and his company have been trying to find a limit to the amount of data they can transmit using this technology, but so far they haven’t been able to do so. They’ve already tested the technology with 10 times the capacity of Shannon’s Law, but theoretically, they could transmit up to 1000 times the capacity. What does this mean? No more dead zones, no more dropped calls, no congestion and faster speeds than today’s wired connections.

Better latency is another huge advantage of this magical wireless technology. There’s a sub-millisecond latency in a 1- to 2-mile connection, and a 2-millisecond latency in a 30-mile one. However, Steve said they could possibly take it all the way to a distance of 250 miles. Think about that for a second. With only one antenna needed per city, or even state, this technology could very well kill cell towers forever.

If you watched OnLive’s presentation at E3, then you know Steve is truly a man of vision. But why would the CEO of a cloud gaming company go into the wireless business? It’s pretty simple, really. OnLive’s gaming service is about to take off in the mobile space. The company has big plans for Android tablets and phones. But none of that will work without a robust wireless network powering those devices. Seeing how Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T are all walking in the opposite direction with their tiered data plans, you’ll be hard-pressed to find somebody willing to pay $80/month just to be able to use OnLive on their Droids.

That’s basically why Steve and Rearden are working on this revolutionary new wireless technology. Could we see OnLive get into the ISP business in the future? It’s possible. But more importantly, could Google become so interested in this that it would acquire OnLive? A guy can dream. Embedded below is Steve’s whole presentation, but the good part starts at around 55:12.

Via: OnLive Spot

Alberto is a college student living somewhere between Miami, Sarasota and the World Wide Web. Although a former iPhone owner, Alberto is now a proud Android enthusiast. You can follow Alberto on Twitter and Google+ for his thoughts unworthy of an article.

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  • htowngtr

    Love it, but won’t happen anytime soon. Good luck getting any major carrier to ditch their entire infrastructure.

    • http://Website GeauxLSU

      You don’t need a major carrier to ditch their infrastructure. You just need someone with enough capital to start up a new carrier. Less towers means shorter roll-out times. If the US is 3.79 million square miles, and a tower can handle 250 square miles, that’s a little over 15,000 towers to cover all of the US.

      • http://Website wwwi7891

        Sorry to say, but you suck at math. When he says it works 250 miles away, that means a 250 mile radius, giving it an area of (250^2 * Pi) = 196349.375 square miles. Even if we just stick with a more realistic 30 mile radius, it would still only take 1341 towers to cover the entire US.

        • http://Website GeauxLSU

          The true number is somewhere between yours and mine because when dealing with the area of a circle, you will need overlapping circles to avoid dead spots.

          • http://Website hatsune miku

            fucking math

          • http://Website wwwi7891

            Fucking Math: Powered by Magnets

          • http://Website Zer0-9

            Pretty easy math really. For every two towers you need a third to cover the dead zone. In theory the third tower could cost less money and need a shorter range/less power.

            so ~2011 towers.

            Other issues arise with Mountains and a landscape that isn’t defined by perfect geometry. So just an estimate.

  • http://Website Hans

    Sounds amazing, but I doubt any carrier will adopt it. No dead zones would mean the death of carriers as we know it. It would mean one company will own the entire spectrum, creating a monopoly.

  • Rubrewskey

    Steve doesn’t need a carrier to adopt his technology. He needs to start a revolution and create a new standard for the rest of the world to follow. A new brand that understands our needs.

    • http://Website tnypxl

      His tech is merely going to make a duopolized market, open. He doesn’t need Verizon or AT&T’s permission to do anything considering his tech can co-exist without problem (theoretically).

  • http://www.healthytiger.com Healthy

    quick comment because it seems like some people don’t understand how spectrum works.

    This tech would still need spectrum. FCC grants access to spectrum to different people tv gets a slice, at&t has a slice, a slice is there for bluetooth, wifi, etc.

    what is awesome about this tech (supposedly, obviously it has to be proven) is that you can fit more data into given bandwidth (think about where that word comes from).

    the real question is how it works with other existing tech. generally speaking cordless phones aren’t supposed to interfere with other things operating nearby, and at&t has to stay within it’s own fences. and so far reardon’s technology apparently plays well with itself (har har) but it might not do so well if it was also mixed with ubiquitous signals of today. hopefully it is though. it might be that they are trying to buy spectrum or lease it or maybe they would license this technology to other spectrum owners. either way, if this is real then they are going to be doing pretty well. (and so will we. . . maybe? verizon will still be overpriced at least)

    looking forward to more information.

  • http://maxtechnewz.blogspot.com/ Max

    who will be the first company to use this technology can at&t turn into the least drop calls lol or will verizon stay on top

  • http://Website Jeff

    This looks like a really good option, but I’d like to know what kind of speeds will this technology support?

    Also, has he gave any kinds of hints as to how far along they are with developing this new technology?

    • http://Website Jeff

      After watching the Q&A section of his presentation, I know that he said that this new wireless technology is way faster than 4G.

      Also, he sounded as if they were already done with the majority of the development of this new technology, but that they weren’t planning on being the company that makes use of this technology.

      • http://Website Jeff

        Just to clarify what I said, at 1:19:50, he said “Smarter people than me will figure out what to do with it,” which gives me the impression that he’s not planning on being the company that tries to sell this new technology to consumers.

        He also says during the Q&A section that phones will probably have both technologies in them, sending the impression that he doesn’t think that this new technology will completely take over the current data technology.

  • http://Website Daniel

    Note, though, that so far they have dodged any explanation of what they are doing, so this should be taken with a grain of salt. Also, Shannon’s Law is not some kind of rule that can be broken or theory, it’s a physical limitation proven with mathematical grounds. (They acknowledge in their presentation they didn’t really break Shannon’s Law limits)

    Since they have so far failed to explain their solution, other knowledgeable people in the field are trying to piece together his proposal, and if they are right his solution works great in small tests, but will have serious challenges to work on a large scale.

    • http://Website tnypxl

      I think he is merely optimizing what already exists.

  • http://Website Tito!

    Please, Block & help T-Mobile dodge AT&T .
    That merger can’t go through!

  • AceoStar

    I know this sounds pretentious, but I’m going to stop reading any articles that refer to “Android” as “droids” :/

    • Rubrewskey

      Totally agree with you. A phone running on Android is not a droid. “Droid” is a trademark of Lucasfilms licensed to Verizon Wireless.

  • http://pryvateid.tumblr.com Dave

    Please save us from the teired data plans Steve…

  • http://Website Mark

    Wow. This man is a TRUE visionary. It’s like the invention of the TV. People then said, “who would pay hundreds of bucks just to sit in front of a box and watch flickering images?” Now, look at where we at.

    All it will take is just ONE company (hopefully, Google?) or carrier to believe in him and fund his vision.

  • http://Website RAPTOR

    Yea sure 1000 times the spectrum.

    Sure 250 miles was hard to drive to check if it works or not.

    Will look at this crap but for now with 99.999999% probability HE IS @S#$ @$$%@#.

    The guy sounds like a dumbest troll. Who allowed such @#$% to talk in front of students?
    And why he needs to drive 250 miles? To deliver radio wave in his trunk? ROFL LOL MAO.

    • http://Website Locke

      You sir, are a fool.

      • http://www.avaqom.com HackNet

        my co-worker and I agree on your comment. lol

        • http://Website Raptor

          Quiet kids, your mom yells you it’s time for kindergarden. Get back when you learn physics. In my life I’ve seen more science and hi-tech charlatans then you’ve seen rats in your Metro2033. They promised anything from star wars weapon to fusion on a table and got … @#$%^

  • http://www.avaqom.com HackNet
  • http://Website slader

    Rearden, the company behind this tech is planning to spin-out a company based on this tech.

    More here: http://onlivespot.blogspot.com/2011/06/rearden-plans-to-spin-out-company-based.html

  • http://Website stusmygsgbrd

    I live in a mobile black spot, it got this way when they changed from 3G to HSPA, still I live in hope of one day not being in a digital backwater. It would be nice not to suffer in information poverty, stuck as I am on GPRS, it’s 100 times slower than HSPA. We will all be wanting more bandwidth with ultra definition 3D requiring 32 times the download capacity of standard definition.
    Currently the front runner is Hauwei LTE advanced at 1 Gb/s, at max speed it would take at least 4 minutes (were’s my spell checker, I had one 15 years ago for crying out loud,) to download a movie.

  1. Love it, but won’t happen anytime soon. Good luck getting any major carrier to ditch their entire infrastructure.

    • GeauxLSUGuest 4 years ago

      You don’t need a major carrier to ditch their infrastructure. You just need someone with enough capital to start up a new carrier. Less towers means shorter roll-out times. If the US is 3.79 million square miles, and a tower can handle 250 square miles, that’s a little over 15,000 towers to cover all of the US.

      • wwwi7891Guest 4 years ago

        Sorry to say, but you suck at math. When he says it works 250 miles away, that means a 250 mile radius, giving it an area of (250^2 * Pi) = 196349.375 square miles. Even if we just stick with a more realistic 30 mile radius, it would still only take 1341 towers to cover the entire US.

        • GeauxLSUGuest 4 years ago

          The true number is somewhere between yours and mine because when dealing with the area of a circle, you will need overlapping circles to avoid dead spots.

          • hatsune mikuGuest 4 years ago

            fucking math

          • wwwi7891Guest 4 years ago

            Fucking Math: Powered by Magnets

          • Zer0-9Guest 4 years ago

            Pretty easy math really. For every two towers you need a third to cover the dead zone. In theory the third tower could cost less money and need a shorter range/less power.

            so ~2011 towers.

            Other issues arise with Mountains and a landscape that isn’t defined by perfect geometry. So just an estimate.

  2. HansGuest 4 years ago

    Sounds amazing, but I doubt any carrier will adopt it. No dead zones would mean the death of carriers as we know it. It would mean one company will own the entire spectrum, creating a monopoly.

  3. Steve doesn’t need a carrier to adopt his technology. He needs to start a revolution and create a new standard for the rest of the world to follow. A new brand that understands our needs.

    • tnypxlGuest 4 years ago

      His tech is merely going to make a duopolized market, open. He doesn’t need Verizon or AT&T’s permission to do anything considering his tech can co-exist without problem (theoretically).

  4. quick comment because it seems like some people don’t understand how spectrum works.

    This tech would still need spectrum. FCC grants access to spectrum to different people tv gets a slice, at&t has a slice, a slice is there for bluetooth, wifi, etc.

    what is awesome about this tech (supposedly, obviously it has to be proven) is that you can fit more data into given bandwidth (think about where that word comes from).

    the real question is how it works with other existing tech. generally speaking cordless phones aren’t supposed to interfere with other things operating nearby, and at&t has to stay within it’s own fences. and so far reardon’s technology apparently plays well with itself (har har) but it might not do so well if it was also mixed with ubiquitous signals of today. hopefully it is though. it might be that they are trying to buy spectrum or lease it or maybe they would license this technology to other spectrum owners. either way, if this is real then they are going to be doing pretty well. (and so will we. . . maybe? verizon will still be overpriced at least)

    looking forward to more information.

  5. MaxGuest 4 years ago

    who will be the first company to use this technology can at&t turn into the least drop calls lol or will verizon stay on top

  6. JeffGuest 4 years ago

    This looks like a really good option, but I’d like to know what kind of speeds will this technology support?

    Also, has he gave any kinds of hints as to how far along they are with developing this new technology?

    • JeffGuest 4 years ago

      After watching the Q&A section of his presentation, I know that he said that this new wireless technology is way faster than 4G.

      Also, he sounded as if they were already done with the majority of the development of this new technology, but that they weren’t planning on being the company that makes use of this technology.

      • JeffGuest 4 years ago

        Just to clarify what I said, at 1:19:50, he said “Smarter people than me will figure out what to do with it,” which gives me the impression that he’s not planning on being the company that tries to sell this new technology to consumers.

        He also says during the Q&A section that phones will probably have both technologies in them, sending the impression that he doesn’t think that this new technology will completely take over the current data technology.

  7. DanielGuest 4 years ago

    Note, though, that so far they have dodged any explanation of what they are doing, so this should be taken with a grain of salt. Also, Shannon’s Law is not some kind of rule that can be broken or theory, it’s a physical limitation proven with mathematical grounds. (They acknowledge in their presentation they didn’t really break Shannon’s Law limits)

    Since they have so far failed to explain their solution, other knowledgeable people in the field are trying to piece together his proposal, and if they are right his solution works great in small tests, but will have serious challenges to work on a large scale.

  8. Tito!Guest 4 years ago

    Please, Block & help T-Mobile dodge AT&T .
    That merger can’t go through!

  9. I know this sounds pretentious, but I’m going to stop reading any articles that refer to “Android” as “droids” :/

  10. DaveGuest 4 years ago

    Please save us from the teired data plans Steve…

  11. MarkGuest 4 years ago

    Wow. This man is a TRUE visionary. It’s like the invention of the TV. People then said, “who would pay hundreds of bucks just to sit in front of a box and watch flickering images?” Now, look at where we at.

    All it will take is just ONE company (hopefully, Google?) or carrier to believe in him and fund his vision.

  12. RAPTORGuest 4 years ago

    Yea sure 1000 times the spectrum.

    Sure 250 miles was hard to drive to check if it works or not.

    Will look at this crap but for now with 99.999999% probability HE IS @S#$ @$$%@#.

    The guy sounds like a dumbest troll. Who allowed such @#$% to talk in front of students?
    And why he needs to drive 250 miles? To deliver radio wave in his trunk? ROFL LOL MAO.

    • LockeGuest 4 years ago

      You sir, are a fool.

      • my co-worker and I agree on your comment. lol

        • RaptorGuest 4 years ago

          Quiet kids, your mom yells you it’s time for kindergarden. Get back when you learn physics. In my life I’ve seen more science and hi-tech charlatans then you’ve seen rats in your Metro2033. They promised anything from star wars weapon to fusion on a table and got … @#$%^

  13. sladerGuest 4 years ago

    Rearden, the company behind this tech is planning to spin-out a company based on this tech.

    More here: http://onlivespot.blogspot.com/2011/06/rearden-plans-to-spin-out-company-based.html

  14. stusmygsgbrdGuest 4 years ago

    I live in a mobile black spot, it got this way when they changed from 3G to HSPA, still I live in hope of one day not being in a digital backwater. It would be nice not to suffer in information poverty, stuck as I am on GPRS, it’s 100 times slower than HSPA. We will all be wanting more bandwidth with ultra definition 3D requiring 32 times the download capacity of standard definition.
    Currently the front runner is Hauwei LTE advanced at 1 Gb/s, at max speed it would take at least 4 minutes (were’s my spell checker, I had one 15 years ago for crying out loud,) to download a movie.