May 30, 2006 3:38 PM PDT

Next-generation Wi-Fi tech to deliver IPTV

Next-generation Wi-Fi could soon be used to deliver IPTV throughout the home.

Airgo Networks, which makes Wi-Fi chips, announced Tuesday that Caton Overseas and STMicroelectronics will use its latest generation of wireless technology to distribute video over Wi-Fi links throughout the home. Caton is a Chinese maker of set-top boxes for satellite and cable TV providers in Asia and Europe, and STMicroelectronics provides chips to set-top box manufacturers such as Siemens and Cisco Systems' Scientific Atlanta.

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Airgo has already been supplying wireless routing companies such as Linksys with high-performing Wi-Fi chips using a technology called MIMO or multiple input, multiple output, which improves Wi-Fi's range and throughput. MIMO is currently the primary basis for next-generation Wi-Fi standard 802.11n.

Now Airgo says it has tweaked its MIMO technology to improve the throughput, range and reliability of the signal enough to deliver high-quality video. Airgo's next-generation chips, called True MIMO Gen3, provided transmission speeds up to 240mbps when tested in Airgo's 6,000-square-foot model home, said Dave Borison, director of marketing for Airgo. This speed is enough to transmit three high-definition TV channels, he said.

Carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon Communications, are spending billions of dollars upgrading their networks to deliver Internet Protocol-based TV service to consumers. But most homes today aren't equipped with Ethernet cabling, which has traditionally been used to deliver IP services. So one of the problems carriers face as they try to deliver IPTV, or Internet Protocol television, is finding a way to distribute the service to multiple TVs.

Wi-Fi provides a good alternative to Ethernet cabling, but until recently the technology has not provided enough capacity or reliability to be used for anything more than delivering data services.

"Until now, the only way to get multiple TVs connected to an IPTV service was to use wires," Borison said. "Earlier wireless technology couldn't offer the performance to replace wires. But now it can."

Another company called Ruckus Wireless also specializes in optimizing Wi-Fi for video delivery. But Borison said that Ruckus uses old Wi-Fi technology to improve performance.

"The Ruckus technology is like souping up the engine of an old car," he said. "You'll improve the performance. But what we've done is actually replace the whole engine with a brand-new one."

See more CNET content tagged:
Airgo Networks, IP television, wireless technology, MIMO, STMicroelectronics


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WIFI the silver bullet?
<rant on>
WIFI for IPTV is not all about speed & performance  its about delivering a consistent reliable service level to the mass market. Do you really believe next-gen (god I am so over that term) MIMO with silver bells and piercing whistle is going to deliver consistent bandwidth with multiple devices, diff vendors, a, b, g, n, cordless phones, microwave ovens, pregnant wives and the next door neighbors cantenna? Not to mention the 50 or so APs all operating on channel 11 within a radius of 150M.

WIFI is not the streaming video in-home networking silver bullet. Damn it's hard enough keeping a 3.5M stream up on customized (fixed channel, G only) point to point for a reasonable time let alone multiple 8-10M HD streams! I know, I know, I know it's been tested in the lab\model home and it works just fine. Can anyone out there show us a WIFI commercial implementation anywhere on this planet streaming greater than 3.5M streams in built up areas at the same time supporting other WIFI devices? Cause were not gonna install dedicated AP's just for video now are we?

God I hate being a cynic but I am so over this WIFI can do everything. It's been 7+ years now of WIFI marketing hype and its still nowhere near an interoperable consistent experience. This stuff is great for occasional access, browsing, mail, porn and PTP but when you need consistent service levels...

Now, dont get me started on Powerline&
</rant off>
Posted by Devastatin Dave (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
more ugly boxes in the home?
sounds like they might be onto something. I just hope it doesn't
mean ugly purple plastic boxes in my living room, bedroom,
kitchen, etc... they should put it together with this wireless
wallport networking idea:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by Adam Lenio (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
they might be onto something.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Link Flag
Yea,,,,there aint nothing
like a hemi in a 40 coupe.

Although it will only get you so far, so fast!

Posted by OneWithTech (196 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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