Intel Previews Digital “Moore’s Law” Radio
Rather than just assuming everyone knows whatMoore’s Law is, I’m just going to include it here. Basically, Moore’s Law says that the number of transistors on a chip will double about every two years. This has mostly held true (though advances seem to be coming faster) for computers, but other technologies progress at a much slower rate. The specific kind of technology we’re talking about here is radio, or Wi-Fi, technology.
The main problem with improving radio technology is that radio is an analog system, rather than a digital one. While scientists have begun to hit some limits in what can be done on a chip, digital technology is easier to improve and easier to shrink. Try shrinking analog technology too far and it begins to malfunction.
Analog systems are also not as power efficient as digital systems, which is one reason you see people with laptops camped out near power outlets. Intel Labs has been researching how to create fully digital radio technology and has finally had some success. The company recently demonstrated a completely digital Wi-Fi unit that fits on a single chip.
Intel claims the chip will be cheap to manufacture, which means it should start appearing as part of mobile devices in the not-to-distant future. What this means to consumers is improved battery life and faster wireless communication. By moving Wi-Fi to digital (or Wi-Gig, as Intel is calling it), using a mobile device will consume less power and increase bandwidth to, according to the company, over 5 gigabits per second.
“Wi-Gig is so fast it will let you wirelessly dock your enabled Ultrabook, tablet or smartphone without wires,” said Justin Rattner, CTO for Intel. “Even multiple displays can be docked at one time.”
Below you’ll find a video documenting the new technology.