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

Mozilla Marches Ahead with Ads for Firefox

This November, Mozilla is up for renegotiation with Google for placement of Google search as the default search in Firefox and for the related subsidies that Google pays Mozilla, which reached almost $300 million last year. That comprised the majority of Mozilla's income. With Chrome establishing itself as a leader in the browser wars, its unclear what relationship Google will continue to pursue with Mozilla. Read more

What happens when a non-coder tries to learn Linux

The Linux Foundation has created all of the content for the course, including the videos, written text, activities, and labs. It's clear to me that their content team has made an effort to space out the videos between the written material in a way that gives you a break from endless reading. Also, each video is only approximately 30 seconds to 2 minutes long. They avoid getting into the weeds too much at once, giving you chunks of knowledge, letting you test it out, then moving on to another topic. Each chapter points out that as the course progresses, you will go into further depth with each topic. Read more

Jailhouse 0.1 released

This release particularly means full exploitation of VT-d DMA and interrupt remapping to isolate assigned PCI devices from the hypervisor and foreign cells. Moreover, the usability of Jailhouse was greatly improved by the introduction and continuous extension of a generator for system configuration files. Finally, a framework for writing basic cell applications is available now. With a few lines of C code you can set up timer interrupts, read clocks or configure PCI devices for the use in simple bare-metal real-time applications. Read more

Ubuntu Launcher 0.5.5 for Android Will Transform Your Phone in Ubuntu – Gallery

Many users might have something against the Unity desktop environment that's being used in Ubuntu, but the truth is that Unity comes with a great app launcher. Coincidentally, the same kind of launcher might work very well on phones and a similar implementation is being done for Ubuntu Touch. Read more