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OnLive Founder: We've Broken Shannon's Law

OnLive CEO and founder Steve Perlman claims that he's broken Shannon's Law with what he calls distributed-input-distributed-output (DIDO) technology. Created at another of his startups at parent company Rearden Companies, it's an experimental wireless communications system that promises to pipe a full wireless stream from a nearby cell tower no matter its current load, whether its 100 simultaneous users or a 1000.

"I know that sounds impossible," Perlman admitted to Wired, “but literally if you have a cell that has 100 megabits per second worth of bandwidth in it and you have 100 people, each person gets 100 megabits a second. It’s really pretty amazing; you don’t interfere with anybody else.”

Originally Claude Shannon formulated the concept of channel capacity back in 1948. Since then, it's become known as Shannon's Law (or the Shannon-Hartley theorem) and dictates the "maximum rate at which information can be transmitted over a communications channel of a specified bandwidth in the presence of noise." Supposedly no communications system has zipped passed the theoretical speed limit, but Perlman is now claiming that his DIDO tech currently pushes speeds at ten times the limit. His team even claims that it can push speeds to 100 times the limit, possibly 1000 times faster.

"Everyone we called — you know, like professors and Ph.D students — were like, 'You’re crazy, this'll never work, we all know that wireless doesn’t work that way.'" Perlman said. "We had another person to whom I said, 'Look, everyone’s been telling me this can’t possibly work. I just need to know why."'

Perlman said that he couldn't get anyone to explain why it couldn't work – he even hired a researcher to disprove DIDO who in turn discovered that the OnLive founder and his team stumbled on something no other company had done before... and worked quite well.

But Shivendra Panwar, electrical engineering professor at NYU Polytechnical Institute, said that Shannon's Law was previously trumped thanks to MIMO. "Multiples of the Shannon limit have been achieved already using multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) technology … which is used in the latest WiFi (IEEE 802.11n) and 4G cellular wireless systems," Panwar said. "Of course, further innovation in this area is always possible. The multiples usually discussed, for practical cases, are two, four or eight, not 10 or 100."

Regardless, Perlman said he's already patented the DIDO tech and wants to see it in full use within the next few years, possibly even eliminating wired connections altogether. "I am as confident that [DIDO] is going to revolutionize communications as I’ve ever been confident in anything I’ve ever designed in my career," Perlman boasted. "That doesn’t mean I’m right, but for example I was far less confident that OnLive or MOVA were going to work, and here we are."

Yes, here we are. It's not hard to imagine that Perman's DIDO technology will serve as a backbone for his OnLive service, piping HD PC gaming, movies, web surfing and other "computing" to wireless devices whether they're desktops, laptops on the road or smartphone users wandering the desert. Question is, do we really want everything stored in the cloud?

  • killerclick
    Well roll it out then, otherwise shut up
    Reply
  • mister g
    Wonder if it involves multiple smaller towers all interconnected and placed on building roofs or something (network maybe?).
    Reply
  • wooodoggies
    no freaking thank you, i will keep my ultra secure DSL, i dont care how fast wireless or cable is, its WAAYYY to unsecure.
    Reply
  • alidan
    otacon72Streaming is going nowhere as long as their are hard caps in place. Who cares if they can delivery 100TBs of data to your house in once second if you go over your monthly bandwidth cap.
    the point of those limits, partially to gain money, are also in place because they dont have the copacity to handle that may people simultaneously.

    if this works the way that i believe it does, it takes those limits (on networks) and gets rid of them. if they keep low (sub 100gb) caps after this is implemented, we will know that they are only in it for the money.
    Reply
  • alidan
    i have a question "possibly even eliminating wired connections altogether"

    anyone here not have a land line at all? i mean for emergancys, like a 911.

    the last thing i would ever want is to call 911 from a cellphone if ANY other method is possible, because not every 911 call center can triangulate your position, or lets say you are in an apartment, they cant get the triangle to be accurate enough. lets say you slip, have a slight fall, but you fell onto a glass, and that glass cut your neck to the point you cant really talk, and if you release the pressure, you will die from bleeding out (happed to a relative of mine, they were drunk, but lived). do you want them to find you as fast as possible in that situation, you have to use a land line. you dont cellphone that.

    i will ALWAYS have a land line (and 1 trackphone for car emergency use) till they day they dont offer it for that reason.
    Reply
  • vittau
    You can't break a theorem, he's certainly misusing/misinterpreting it.
    Reply
  • memadmax
    If it's too good to be true, it usually is....
    Reply
  • sseyler
    alidanthe point of those limits, partially to gain money, are also in place because they dont have the copacity to handle that may people simultaneously. if this works the way that i believe it does, it takes those limits (on networks) and gets rid of them. if they keep low (sub 100gb) caps after this is implemented, we will know that they are only in it for the money.
    Right, and if a company has way more bandwidth than its users are using, it can begin to offer unlimited data service again, which would be a huge advantage over its per-MB competitors. Prices went up because supply (of bandwidth) was short of current demand. In this case, simple microeconomic notions can explain most of the recent wireless pricing changes.
    Reply
  • fordry06
    wooodoggiesno freaking thank you, i will keep my ultra secure DSL, i dont care how fast wireless or cable is, its WAAYYY to unsecure.
    heh, you realize that if someone wants to hack you it doesn't matter how "secure" your connection is, it will happen? That is what strong encryption is for when doing anything that requires security. Depending on your "landline" to keep you safe is ignorant.
    Reply
  • @alidan I don't have a land line, and I haven't for at least 5 years.
    I'll modify part of your paragraph to fit my frame of mind. "The last thing i would ever want is to call 911."
    Maybe I am some sort of macho tough guy survivalist. I always like to think that if I am incapable of keeping myself from dieing without the aid of surgery or drugs, then I should be dead. Thinking about a drunkard hurting/killing him/herself sounds like a fine thing that I can accept, and I would be perfectly happy seeing those die due to their own stupidity. I see the world as a process of natural selection.

    This part is a little out there. When I am too old to take care of myself, I hope I die. Think of the vast number of people who still live as a pure burden to other people. I am not saying I desire some form of mass exodus, but keeping around a relic of a human being and watching them slowly decay isn't pleasing, wonderful, or natural to any degree. I hope that those who find my corpse leave it where it lay, if something must be done, throw my lifeless body into a hole and be done with it. No clothing, no make up, no insane and disgusting song and dance funeral.

    This DIDO technology still has no demo. I watched the guys entire 1 hour speech, of which maybe 15 minutes related to DIDO. It sounds like a mesh network that connects to a small number of backbone nodes with massive bandwidth. The key that makes DIDO so excited is the wireless bandwidth and range.


    I am shocked this article makes no mention of the range. Perlman makes claim that his radios have excellent SNR, and through that, they can achieve amazing ranges. They say they have tried 30 miles and found excellent results. Think about 30 miles. I mean, if you had to setup 2 repeaters to have a solid internet connection in the middle of no where, that'd be more than acceptable.
    A lot of people like to make contrasts of broadband speeds. US vs south korea. That is fun and all, but the problem is running miles and miles and miles of fiber to and from. Feel free to compare Korea to Some heavily populated area in California. I am betting you'll find the numbers aren't too bad. But if this DIDO technology were to work as it is claimed, the need for 'the last mile' connections simply would cease to be. Basically, imagine if your wireless router was your cable modem and it was capable of pushing a gigabyte a second. Obviously it wouldn't be perfect or whatever, but if it works and it's real, it would destroy monopolies in the ISP area and make you laugh about the cost of what you pay now for your cell phone data plan. "I can't believe how much I was paying at the time, what a rip off that was!"
    Reply