RealTime IT News

Wireless Keeps on Trucking

WiMax will soon be rolling into truck stops across the country, according to satellite network provider Broadcast International (BI) .

The Salt Lake City-based company said that it will begin trials in the next three months to provide a video on demand service for truckers using the wireless metropolitan area networking (MAN) technology. Also known as 802.16d, WiMax supports data speeds up to 70Mbps at a range of around 30 miles.

BI said it will use traditional satellite technology to deliver video content to servers located at the truck stops, and use WiMax to stream the video to truckers' laptops. There are no WiMax PC cards available yet (or any other products, for that matter), but Intel has said that it will introduce WiMax silicon by the end of the year.

The video will be compressed using BI's CodecSys platform. The technology, which uses multiple codecs to compress audio and video content, provides high-quality video at lower bandwidth, according to CEO Rod Tiede, which is key for streaming video to multiple users.

"Without our compression technology ... you wouldn't have the bandwidth to deliver 3MB of data for each person's video stream," he said. "If we're doing it at 256K, we can handle 10 times the number of users."

BI said it plans to launch the service this year in 1,000 truck stops, many of which have already been outfitted with Wi-Fi. Sprint and Truckstop.net announced an agreement late last year to deploy hotspots at up to 3,000 sites over the next few years.