Technology Review’s sales pitch for Gigabeam is overrated

It figures that some press would get its hands on some PR and spin it way out of proportion. It’s even more disappointing when it comes from well known MIT publication, Technology Review.
The article by Kate Greene, headlines with “Faster than Fiber”. Talk about peaking my attention when it’s my professional realm. So I take a look at Gigabeam’s technology. Not something that is new, but Gigabeam basically uses tight beams of light (instead of radio waves) to run data over point-to-point networks. This basically creates a optical transmission similar to infrared, but on a different frequency. Here’s thePR spin that is so unbecoming of Technology Review. Nothing there says that this optical technology transmits faster than the speed of light (which is what fiber optics does – transfer at the speed of light). Here’s the catch of it all. Gigabeam uses more spectrum than most to transfer its data. What does this mean in regular speak?
If I take a pipe and force water through it, there is only so much water I can force through at a constant pressure. But if I increase the pipe’s diameter, then it accomodates more capacity at the same pressure.
Similarly, this concept is applied to spectrum, as well as fiber optics and every network in existence. Bigger pipe means more data. Well of course it transfers more! I can increase my fiber bundle also! Sheesh. And to top it off, wireless technologies have to deal with external interference such as buildings, trees, rain, etc. The point is: the author of the article spoke to the VP of Marketing who sold a good line. But there wasn’t enough technological background into how the optical technology works. Everyone who has ever taken college physics knows that nothing travels faster than the speed of light (currently). Gigabeam has a great technology, but the headline makes it seem that it’s faster than a wireline technology which is ridiculous. Compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
TechnologyReview

  • http://www.greensboro101.com/ Roch101

    “faster than the speed of light (which is what fiber optics does).”
    Huh? Really. I always thought that was a phsycial impossibility and that, theoretically, if it could happen it would reverse time.

  • http://www.greensboro101.com Roch101

    “faster than the speed of light (which is what fiber optics does).”
    Huh? Really. I always thought that was a phsycial impossibility and that, theoretically, if it could happen it would reverse time.

  • http://www.merchantsmirror.com Ben Hwang

    Sorry. clarified a bit. Fiber optics – travels at speed of light. The article title misinforms by giving the impression that you can travel faster than the speed of light.
    Currently, there is actual research that shows in theoretical mathematics that it is possible to perhaps break that speed of light barrier by introducting multi-dimensions (like warp drives where you rip a hole in space-time and then jump back into your own dimension) but that’s theoretical. And yes, there is actual research on this, it didn’t just come out of Star Trek. ;)

  • darkmoon

    Sorry. clarified a bit. Fiber optics – travels at speed of light. The article title misinforms by giving the impression that you can travel faster than the speed of light.
    Currently, there is actual research that shows in theoretical mathematics that it is possible to perhaps break that speed of light barrier by introducting multi-dimensions (like warp drives where you rip a hole in space-time and then jump back into your own dimension) but that’s theoretical. And yes, there is actual research on this, it didn’t just come out of Star Trek. ;)

  • http://www.greensboro101.com/ Roch101

    Cool. I’ll call you yesterday.

  • http://www.greensboro101.com Roch101

    Cool. I’ll call you yesterday.