Everyone hates a slow Internet connection. Slow cellular data connections are even worse. With nearly everyone around the world using cellular data, the networks are getting more and more congested. Steve Perlman thinks he has the solution.
Years ago, Perlman announced that he was working on a technology that would revolutionize cellular data and help eliminate network congestion. Now he has finally unveiled his "breakthrough" invention. It's called pCell, short for personal cell technology, and Perlman says that it could be LTE's successor. Perlman wants to place pWave wireless antennas in every big city, crowded stadium and mobile data hotspot. These antennas will created tiny "bubbles" of wireless Internet, called pCells, that several devices can access at the same time. Perlman says that this new technology will eliminate data congestion in areas where thousands or even millions of people are gathered.
Perlman's company Artemis launched the new technology on Tuesday and promptly began installing them all over San Francisco. His goal is to hit New York and several other large metropolitan areas next. Of course, Perlman will need some help from venture capitalists and big companies like Google or Microsoft to get his technology off the ground. Carriers would also have to buy into his idea. The pCell technology will require servers to send along the smart transmissions that provide personal cell data to each and every connected device in a given area. So far, investors have been few and far between.
Perlman hasn't exactly explained how pCell technology works, so many are leery of the project. What's clear is that users don't share a signal the way they would while using their carrier's LTE network. Instead, each users gets their own personal data service. In a closed-room demo, Perlman proved that his technology works - or at least, could work - on multiple devices at the same time. The video shows him surrounded by pWave antennas and a selection of iPhones, Surface tablets and PCs all streaming 4K and 1080p video via Netflix simultaneously.
Perlman is using only a 10MHz of wireless spectrum in the demo, which he says works just fine for pCell, but would never work with a carrier's LTE because the network would get too congested and be plagued by interference. Of course the demo works perfectly under these perfectly controlled conditions, but a real-world demo remains to be seen. Most people will naturally want to see this extraordinary technology at work before they throw all their money into it.
Perlman may not have money or the odds in his favor, but the fact remains that the industry has a huge problem with network congestion and it will only get worse as more people get unlimited data plans and LTE-connexcted devices. Also, as the files we download and stream grow larger, congestion will grow exponentially.