Anyone who uses a wireless system has encountered problems like dropped calls or connections as slow as rotary modem. Steve Perlman says he has a solution for that, and he has a proven track record solving other problems. The Quicktime video player, which he helped to develop when he worked as AOL’s Chief Scientist, has changed the way we watch movies online. He later helped develop WebTV and the OnLive gaming service.
Now he is tackling radio waves, that lie at the basis of wireless communications.
The problem, he says, is interference, caused by the intersection of two or more signals with the same frequency. Interference increased when there are more transmitters or receivers in a given area.
At his business incubator Rearden, Perlman is trying to turn the problem of multiple receivers into an advantage. His team has developed DIDO, an acronym for “distributed-input-distributed output.” He uses transmitters to create unique interference patterns, which can serve users as unique channels. The more transmitters there are, the greater the chance of creating these interference patterns, even if they are not as powerful as existing transmitters. The result is enhanced reception.
Perlman says that his new system could be ready for general use by late 2012, though he thinks it will be more common overseas than here in the U.S. The one drawback to the system is that it requires a closed system and cannot be used in places where there are other signal sources. That means it would require its own spectrum, which is harder to come by in the U.S.
Still, Perlman is already in talks with investors about introducing his new system. If it catches on, it shouldn’t take too long before it is used in the U.S. as well.