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New Study Makes The Case For Free 'Super Wi-Fi' For Everyone

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A new study suggests that after many TV frequencies soon become free, or common property, we should use them for creating free and extended "super Wi-Fi" networks.

The study by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany proposes that we should use these frequencies for globally extending wireless networks instead of giving those frequencies over for mobile communications.

As more and more people get online, the need for Wi-Fi is growing considerably. Mobile communications networks are also becoming more limited, meaning that consumers need more options for connecting when they're not at home or in the office. WLAN networks handle most Wi-Fi, but these networks are also limited, at least in frequency, to the higher ranges.

In the KIT study, researchers suggest using these lower ranges, once used by TV frequencies, for increasing Wi-Fi coverage. Because TV is now mostly digital, these bands are quickly freeing up. Researchers believe that these frequencies could drastically improve Wi-Fi as they're capable of infiltrating walls and other obstacles, unlike current Wi-Fi bands.

In fact, using these lower frequency ranges could also improve Wi-Fi distance up to over a mile. Researchers suggest that this could create more cities with Wi-Fi capabilities anywhere and everywhere, using less equipment than currently needed.

The consequences of this "super Wi-Fi" would revolutionize how we stay connected.

"Individuals, institutions, and companies would be far less dependent on expensive mobile communications networks in conducting their digital communication," says Arnd Weber, one of the study's authors. "This would also be of great economic benefit."

The economic benefits of using these frequencies for Wi-Fi opens up opportunities for new technologies that can take advantage of the extended wireless networks. We've already seen how expanded Wi-Fi affects the industry in radical ways, giving us everything from wireless speakers and cameras to transponders, remote controls and even BlueTooth.

Of course, mobile providers, especially in the U.S., want these frequencies for other uses, particularly mobile communications. Although this study suggests that using these frequencies for extending wireless networks is for the good of all, these companies only benefit if the service isn't free. Governments may sell the networks to mobile providers at high prices. More than likely, those prices pass down to the consumers using the networks.

Next year, these researchers will announce the results of their study at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), organized by the United Nations. The WRC will decide, ultimately, what happens to these frequencies.

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