Relays Help Extend Wireless Communications

Cellular communications was once described as "untethered" communications, given its potential to free a user from having to search out a land-line-based telephone or telephone booth while on the road. The communications landscape has changed somewhat: Try finding a phone booth now in any major city! Because of such rapid growth in the use of cell phones, telephone booths simply don't make economic sense anymore. And gradually, land-line-based telephone systems using strung cables and telephone poles are no longer making sense or being erected because of the more favorable economics of cellular communications systems.

The increased use of cellular services has brought with it succeeding generations of technologyat present, the fourth generation (4G)and all of the advertising hype that goes with it. One of the technologies in support of 4G cellular communications is WiMAX (actually one of several broadband wireless schemes, including LTE). And true enough, they are wireless, with all the convenience associated with wireless services and no telephone poles.

Nonetheless, there is an infrastructurewith towers and large antennasand homeowners aren't always wild about having cellular infrastructure in their backyards. Some of it is unavoidable, but clever use of some 4G schemes, such as WiMAX in the form of repeaters, can help alleviate the growth of cellular towers to support our cellular habits. To read about a possible WiMAX repeater solution based on multihop technologies, click here.

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