Monday, January 26, 2015

Tweether not Twitter

Twitter is just vapid piffle. So it's a wonder to me that any new product or service of substance would knowingly chance that kind of pointless brand confusion. I'm looking at you Tweether. It's really unbecoming.  But their website begins with the phrase "Traveling Wave Tube Based W-band wireless Networks with High Data Rate, High Distribution, Spectrum, and Energy Efficiency."  They had me at wave tube. Their stated goal is as follows:
"The objective of the TWEETHER project is set a milestone in the millimeter wave technology with the realization of the first W-band (92-95GHz) wireless system for distribution of high speed internet everywhere. The TWEETHER aim is to realize the millimeter wave Point multi Point segment to finally link fiber, and sub-6GHz distribution for a full three segment hybrid network.. The TWEETHER system will provide... broadband connectivity with a capacity up to 10Gbps and distribution of hundreds of Mbps to tens of terminals"

Tweether isn't a couple college kids in the garage with a bit of inheritance. It's a project at Lancaster University funded by Europe's Horizon 2020 program.  The few quotes out there on the topic all seem to have come from either Prof. Andy Sutton, the Principal Network Architect or Claudio Paoloni, Professor of Electronics who is the Project Co-coordinator. Paoloni describes our current spectrum as crowded, even congested. The solution he says is to distribute traffic onto unused spectrum such as millimeter waves. This is a block of spectrum lying between microwaves and infrared waves. More here.

But they're not going it alone. You can see the complete list of "partners" here, but it includes: Goethe University, Universitat Polit├Ęcnica de Valencia, Thales Electron Devices, Fibernova, and OMMIC. Those last two are ISPs. Honestly I'm surprised there aren't more of them on board but that may be by design.

Not all the big players beleive in harnessing the millimetre wave (mmW) radio spectrum.  Tweether is intended to operate at 92-95GHz. In the US, this band is limited to indoor use form a fixed position. [SOURCE] Also average power density is limited to 9 uW/sq at 3 meters. Peak power density of any emission shall not exceed 18 uW/sq. By comparison Bluetooth is essentially operating at 3 watts.  But the University of Lancaster claims Tweether could deliver up to 10Gbps. The test started this month so I'm looking forward to field measurements.