MadSci Network: Computer Science

Subject: Universal Wireless Computer Internet

Date: Tue Jul 7 21:53:58 1998
Posted by Gregg Saxon
Grade level: grad (non-science)
School: Non-Student
City: Napa State/Province: California
Country: USA
Area of science: Computer Science
ID: 899866438.Cs

     My question concerns the feasibility of a universal wireless 
computer Internet.  While my suspicion is that the use of radio 
frequencies on a large scale will never prove to be a practical 
method of worldwide terminal-to-terminal cyber-communication, I would 
very much like to know what the experts consider possible.  My 
question has its origin in two articles, both of which I read some 
years ago and both of which have come to seem related in my mind.  
The first was an account of a series of experiments at PARC, the Palo 
Alto Research Center, in which small computer notepads were linked to 
each other using the same technology which makes cellular telephony 
possible.  The second article reported that the transmissions of 
cellular telephones are beginning to interfere with each other, 
particularly in environments where they are more thick on the ground 
(in yuppie dominated high-rise apartment buildings, for example).  I 
add to these considerations two conjectures which as yet remain in 
the realm of science fiction but which seem to possess a certain 
inevitability.  The first is the view, propounded most notably by the 
Microsoft Corporation, that personal computers will become as 
ubiquitous as telephones are today and that under these circumstances 
little distinction will be made between online and offline 
environments.  One conceives of a world in which the majority of the 
population will be connected to the Internet most of the time. One 
may also speculate that most computer users will prefer a highly 
intelligent virtual reality interface both on and offline.  Should 
these circumstances arise, it seems to me that the bandwidth problem 
will begin to assume massive proportions.  A further concern is that 
such an infrastructure must be workable under the most demanding of 
conditions, specifically in densely populated urban areas and 
particularly in the Far East where overpopulation remains a 
persistent embarrassment.  Indeed, I suspect that this will be a 
significant burden worldwide; the U.S. population, for example, 
continues to grow at about 1% annually, potentially doubling during 
the next 100 years.  A final consideration is the question of 
security which is, if I am not mistaken, a thornier issue when data 
is openly broadcast (although I suppose that this hurdle might be 
overcome through universal encryption).
     My question has, therefore, three parts:
     Firstly, is there a way to prevent billions of wireless computer 
transmissions from interfering with each other (or is there perhaps 
another mode of wireless connectivity that is interference-free)?
     Secondly, could these billions of wireless computer 
transmissions support the extraordinary bandwidth demanded by a 
universal Internet that is capable both of supporting artificial 
intelligence and of generating virtual environments?
     Finally, if my assumption is correct, i.e., that universal 
wireless connectivity is impractical, what are the viable 

Re: Universal Wireless Computer Internet

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