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access_time June 30, 2011 at 4:06 PM in Features by AJ Dellinger

OnLive CEO Finds Shannon’s Law Workaround

In the world of wireless bandwidth, there is a fundamental rule that defines the limit for how much data can be transferred wirelessly. That limit is Shannon’s Law. This law (also known as the Shannon-Hartley Theorem) is the reason that it is nearly impossible to access your favorite GIF while in an excessively populated area, which is extremely disconcerting to perverts who have a public masturbation fetish when they cannot access porn on the fly. It is important to note that Shannon’s Law cannot be broken per say. It is a theorem meaning mathematically, it is considered to be a fact. Which makes what OnLive CEO Steve Perlman is doing at Rearden Companies even more impressive.

To put it in the most layman of terms possible (the only way I could understand it), Rearden has created a new type of radio that works off wireless signals but isn’t limited by Shannon’s Law. To make this breakthrough even more impressive, the structure for this new technology is significantly simpler than current iterations. It’s unknown what exactly the technology is capable of, but Perlman’s team insists they can do “100 times” what current cell phones are doing in the same spectrum of wireless.

Perlman may very well found a workaround to an issue that has plagued wireless providers. As smartphones continue to advance and become more prevalent, more and more data is being sent and more of the wireless spectrum is being occupied at any give them. The breakthrough has been described by Perlman as “profound,” and while that may not be the most humble approach to one’s work, he very well may be right. Rearden’s radios not only allow for more data usage in an area, but also cuts down on latency. For gamers, that means reaction-based games become completely playable with no lag time. For everyone else, it could mean an entire new face for broadband technology.

The details of how the technology works exactly is still somewhat up in the air (no pun intended), but theories are sure to begin flying. We at GotGame have stumbled upon a fantastic explanation from Reddit that I frankly don’t completely understand, but it sounds very interesting. In theory, each user will have a single antenna (which is how the current radios Rearden has created work) that would connect singularly to a corresponding downlink coming from a base station. In essence, all transmissions will be able to coexist as they are separate forms of communication that are connecting with their own personal link to the base. The issue that is raised with this theory is “does it work on a large scale?” Common wisdom says “no,” because of that annoying little mathematical fact. Shannon’s Law, while seemingly avoided, is still in play. This theory is yet to be tested in an area in which Shannon’s Law is enforced; they have simply tested several radios to simulate the simplified form of data transfer.

Will Perlman once again silence his critics as he has in the past or will another one of his creations be cast aside by the public eye as “impossible” and “doomed to fail?” Only time will tell. One thing is for sure; If it works, Perlman’s going to be filthy, filthy rich. We’re talking “building a real life version of Angry Birds and paying off PETA to leave him alone while he slings actual birds at actual pigs” type money. As for what hangs in the balance for smartphone users? Well, you’ll finally be able to watch Keyboard Cat play off whoever at any given time no matter where you are. That, my friends, is the future.



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