Monday, September 18, 2006

Too Good To Be True ?

It was revealed in yesterday's Sunday Times that a company called xG Technologies is aiming to come to the market in the UK to raise money to exploit what must be a too-good-to-be-true technology called xG Flash.

The company claims that it has invented a new physical layer technology for wireless networks that enables a whole city to be reached from a single base station costing a fraction of what traditional base stations cost. For the techies amongst you, and to summarise very roughly, the system seems to works by utilising low level spreaded spectrum signals around a big carrier signal that simply provides the clock for the side spectrum signals using permissible microwave emissions, thus improving on efficiency over technologies such as CDMA and UWB. This is generally regarded in blogland as a good idea and the patenting seems to be tight in the US, at least. There are also some favourable media reviews, also here.

I was almost reaching for the phone to call my broker..

If these claims are true, this technology would destroy some of the most valuable businesses in the world and render all traditional TV and voice services redundant, so this is a bit important.

Why do I remain cynical ?

1) I haven't seen it in operation
2) Such technology is easy to get to work in a lab; but the real world is full of interference
3) It's not regulated at the moment, but could easily fall foul of the FCC
4) Can it manage contention ? I can see it working well with multicast technology, but for VoIP or unicast ?
5) The company doesn't really have a heavyweight backer or Board; it amazes me that one of the Silicon Valley firms wouldn't have jumped at this one

But, hey, Coca Cola started life as a medical product, so you never know where these ideas will lead. The reality is that there are clever people out there working hard on new ideas whilst the major telcos have forgotten how to innovate.

This is going to be a fascinating one to follow.

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