The problem is that in heavily populated areas, the shared mobile wireless bandwidth
gets badly congested by all the concurrent users; the solution, allegedly, is personal cell (“pCell”) technology that’s being developed by Steve Perlman and his Artemis Networks
Current mobile wireless technology works by setting up individual towers that spit out an LTE
wireless signal, with the idea that each tower’s signal will gently overlap, creating a seamless coverage area. Anyone within range can use the shared bandwidth, but of course performance can become problematic with too many users on one network.
With pCell technology by contrast, the network equipment can create a unique signal for each individual device that connects--a laser beam instead of a shotgun, if you will. Each personal cell ostensibly can take advantage of the full bandwidth of that transmitter. “We believe this is the largest increase in capacity in the history of wireless technology. It’s like the wireless equivalent of fiber-optic cables,” Perlman told BusinessWeek.
In addition to providing blazing fast wireless speeds, pCell devices are small and can be placed just about anywhere--which, the Artemis claims, would kill the cell tower as we know it. Further, all existing LTE devices would be able to take advantage of pCell technology, so instantly, millions of devices would be compatible with the system.
The company plans to deploy pCell technology later this year. This will be an interesting story to follow, to be sure.