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Lucent to prove Blast technology with gov't trial

Fresh with a government deal to test its Packet Blast technology, Lucent Technologies Inc. confirms a trend that proclaims packet technology is king in the wireless space.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency demonstrated this with an $11.5 million award to allow Lucent to research, develop and demonstrate what Packet Blast can do for the military. This may set the stage for the whole wireless experience by bringing greater efficiency to disruptive technologies including GSM, CDMA and Wideband CDMA protocols.

As with many technologies, DARPA initially is taking the plunge by letting Bell Labs show how the technology can help enhance a larger technology known as multiple in, multiple out or MIMO.

“Once we’ve proven Packet Blast’s abilities in the field, we hope to apply this work to other Department of Defense programs such as Joint Tactical Radio System and Future Combat Systems,” said Mike Geller, director of Bell Labs’ government communications laboratory.

Packet Blast is an antenna-based technology that conveys data from point to point in a transmit-receive format through many channels. With Packet Blast, power is reduced and signal efficiency is enhanced by disentangling interference lines.

“This is the first real mobile network that demonstrates this for real,” remarked Gee Rittenhouse, vice president of wireless research at Bell Labs.

With base-station equipment and wireless devices, Packet Blast enables data connections for notebook PCs and handheld data devices such as personal digital assistants, said the company. The end result, said Lucent, is to enhance third-generation investments.

The ad-hoc network, which Lucent hopes to deploy in the fall using 20 sport utility vehicles, is expected to show a 20-times increase in spectral efficiency. It thrives in non-line-of-sight environments like forested terrain. For the military, it also improves stealth communications, avoiding detection and jamming attempts by the enemy.

“The Packet Blast mobile radios will be subjected to constantly changing urban and rural environments, as well as stress-inducing capacity demands,” said Lucent.

Rittenhouse explains that MIMO works with eight links and each link can convey signals from transmit to receive. MIMO also can bundle different links into one without compromising data volume. The magic is Packet Blast, which maintains the integrity of every data in transit.

Existing technologies will invest considerable power in effecting this transmission. The other difference is rather than tapping more power sources, it uses more antennas to send the same signal.

“The use of multiple antennas increases the rate of transmission in proportion to the number of antennas used to transmit the signal, without requiring increased power,” said Lucent.

With more signal increase, explained Rittenhouse, more data is conveyed on the transmission.

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