Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

MIT starts second wireless revolution

Filed under
Sci/Tech

Wireless companies are investing big in new infrastructure that can handle the ever-increasing demand for inexpensive delivery of voice and data. But the solid-state amplifiers that the nation's roughly 200,000 wireless base stations now use to communicate with cell phones and other electronic devices are costly, generate excessive heat (requiring bulky cooling equipment) and need large backup batteries.

MIT researchers are developing an alternative: the first radio frequency (RF) power amplifier based on a ribbon-beam vacuum electron device. The new amplifier combines a half-century-old technology-vacuum electron devices, or "vacuum tubes" in the old terminology-with a recent MIT breakthrough: an elliptical, or "ribbon," electron beam.

A ribbon electron beam is much more efficient for RF amplification than the one-dimensional, pencil-like electron beam that conventional vacuum electron devices emit. A ribbon-beam vacuum electron device requires less energy than either conventional vacuum electron devices or the solid-state transistors that replaced them in many applications decades ago.

In January, Chiping Chen, principal research scientist in the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, and his colleagues published a paper for the American Physical Society on the first-ever successful demonstration of a ribbon electron beam.

"This technology could change how radio-frequency amplifiers are made," said Chen.

These new amplifiers would enable the completion of next-generation wireless networks by dramatically improving throughput and reducing the cost of base stations by 65 percent. Chen believes RBAs have the potential to reduce the cost of delivering voice and data from the current 50 cents per megabyte to five cents per megabyte.

Moreover, their high power and their capacity to operate at low and high frequencies (from 1.9 GHz for third-generation U.S. wireless base stations to 5.8 GHz for WiMAX, or wireless broadband networks) make them "future-proof" for successive generations of wireless networks.

RBAs are a broad-platform technology with a range of applications in not only communication (telephony, WiMAX, satellite communications), but also defense (radar, missile defense) and scientific research (particle acceleration).

This work is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

GNOME Foundation to Receive $1M from Anonymous Donor over Next Two Years

The donation was made by an anonymous person, though the money will be received by the GNOME Foundation over the next couple of years. Honored by this gesture, the team pledges to use the money to hire more developers and streamline their operations to improve the GNOME desktop environment. "We are honored by the trust given to us and will work hard to justify that trust. This particular donation will enable us to support the GNOME project more widely, and tackle key challenges that the free software community faces," said Neil McGovern, Executive Director of GNOME Foundation. Read more

UP Core Plus SBC launches with Cyclone 10 and Myriad 2 AI add-ons

Aaeon has launched an “UP AI Edge” family of products that builds on a new Apollo Lake based “UP Core Plus” SBC with stacking AI companion boards based on the Movidius Myriad 2 or Intel Cyclone 10GX plus add-ons including a quad-GbE board and a camera. Aaeon Europe quickly met its modest $11K Kickstarter goal for the new UP AI Edge ecosystem, which builds on its UP board products and community. The centerpiece is a new UP Core Plus SBC, although the official, Ubuntu-equipped UP AI Edge development package uses the larger, more feature-rich UP Squared SBC. Read more

MX Tools - A year later, the toolbox got better

Roughly fourteen full phases of the moon ago, I wrote an article on MX Tools, a unique and useful bunch of dedicated utilities packaged with the MX Linux distribution. This toolbox offered the ordinary (or new) MX Linux user a chance to perform some common configuration tasks with easy and elegance. In general, MX-16 was a great player, and the recent MX-17 is even better - and at a first glance, so is the new version of MX Tools bundled with the system. Good stuff. So I set about testing, to see what has changed, and in what way this set of utilities has improved, if at all. But I'm positive. Let us commence. [...] MX Tools turned out to be a predictable gem, just as I'd expected. Well, I'm cheating, because I wrote this article after some rather thorough testing. But then, if you look across the wider spectrum of Linux home distributions, there aren't that many unique players with distinctive features. Quite often, it's the rehash of old and familiar with some extra color, polish and rebranding. MX Linux goes the extra mile (or kilometer, if you will) in making the newbie experience meaningfully different. Future improvements could potentially include an interactive walkthrough - so users will be actively prompted and helped along in their tasks. Then of course, there's the matter of visual appearance, in the UI itself. But in general, MX Tools TNG is better than we had before. More elegant, more streamlined, better looking, and most importantly, more practical. This is a good and useful toolbox, and it makes a solid distro even more appealing. Well worth testing. So do it. And take care. Read more

The story of Gentoo management

I have recently made a tabular summary of (probably) all Council members and Trustees in the history of Gentoo. I think that this table provides a very succinct way of expressing the changes within management of Gentoo. While it can’t express the complete history of Gentoo, it can serve as a useful tool of reference. What questions can it answer? For example, it provides an easy way to see how many terms individuals have served, or how long Trustee terms were. You can clearly see who served both on the Council and on the Board and when those two bodies had common members. Most notably, it collects a fair amount of hard-to-find data in a single table. Read more