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Convergence reaches cute little frontiers

india Updated: Jan 30, 2011 21:31 IST
N Madhavan
N Madhavan
Hindustan Times
Ubiquisys

Do you remember war movies or thrillers, where the hero makes a great escape from under barbed wire fences by simply crawling carefully? That’s what I was reminded of last week when I heard of Ubiquisys.

The UK-based company has come up with a unique base station that aims to marry the Internet with international phone roaming – often a high-cost bane for travellers who want to stay in touch with family and friends back home.

It has introduced what it calls the world’s first “attocell” using femtocell technology. The device, like an intelligent man trying to crawl through, senses radio waves and adjusts its work.

Though meant mainly for iPhone users, it also works with other platforms.

The device can be plugged into a user’s Internet-enabled laptop’s USB port, which provides power. It then senses the country it is located in and makes use of radio waves without violating the spectrum licensing levels of the home country — much like someone crawling under wires.

While the device’s range can be as low as 5 millimetres in some countries, it can cover a full room in others. Using the device in a speakerphone mode, you can be in a different country and yet use your home network without touching the foreign country’s networks.

Just a few weeks earlier, I met folks from a US-based Marvell, who showed me a small “media server” silicon device that can be plugged into a home’s electric network. Effectively, it creates a wi-fi hotspot enabling many home devices or computers to connect to the Internet and share content. What it does is to marry electric lines with wi-fi network and the internet.
These technologies show the new frontiers of convergence, where cool devices are marrying high convenience with low cost.