Imagine accessing the Internet over the same pipe that provides you with natural gas for cooking.
It may sound nuts today, but a San Diego company called Nethercomm is developing a way to use ultra wideband wireless signals to transmit data at broadband speeds through natural-gas pipes. The company claims its technology will be able to offer 100 megabits per second to every home, which is more than enough to provide voice, video and high-speed Internet access.
Needless to say, there’s a big caveat here: These claims have yet to be tested. Nethercomm has no working products and has not tried the technology in the field.
So how does broadband in gas pipes work? Nethercomm is adapting ultra wideband radio transmitters and receivers to send wireless signals through the natural-gas pipe at the same time the pipe is delivering gas fuel. Ultra wideband, or UWB, is a developing communication technology that delivers very high-speed network data rates, but at higher power levels it can interfere with other wireless signals.
That’s not usually a problem when ultra wideband signals are transmitted in pipes buried underground. As a result, tremendous amounts of data could be transmitted through a gas line without causing problems. At least, that’s the idea.