Potential Next-Gen Wi-Fi and Gaming

I was reading an article on Gizmodo today, which reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about in quite a few months.

I’m sure most of you remember back when television in the U.S. went completely digital? All that cluster-mess of vouchers and old people crying…well the dumb ones anyway, not to offend your granny. Well there was also an auction to determine what to do with that “white space”, and while Verizon won most of the spectrum, other companies also won small bits of it.

Well with the analog TV gone, that freed up the lower frequency. The frequency is much lower than the normal Wi-Fi (2.4Ghz – 5Ghz) we use today at 50Mhz – 700Mhz. Since it’s such a low frequency it’s able to travel long distances and it also has the ability to go through brick walls…which 802.11G & N have a very hard time doing. How far can it travel? Supposedly for several miles.

This isn’t to say it doesn’t have a downside. Because of the lower frequency, the max speed would also be lower. You would be unlikely to noticed, however, because the anticipated speed is 15 – 20 Mbps. I don’t know about you, but I get about 15Mbps max on my cable modem so my browsing/download on the internet wouldn’t change. The difference though would be LAN speeds, where on Wireless-G you get 54Mbps, on Wireless-N it’s 600Mbps.

Now we don’t know for sure what’s going to happen to this spectrum, I assume most of it will be used to extend the availability of each companies respected services, but I for one am hoping, naive though it may be, for free Wi-Fi nationwide. I can safely assume though that part of the spectrum will be used for consumer routers and adapters.

I know the techno-mumbo-jumbo is starting to get boring, so let me get to my interesting thought. What would be the future for LAN parties/gaming, if you could connect to a central LAN from several miles away? Better yet, how would this shape the way developers make a game?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Potential Next-Gen Wi-Fi and Gaming”

  1. While the full details of what is going to happen have not been revealed, a lot of the 700Mhz spectrum is going to be used for Verizon Wireless’s 4G network, LTE. Real world testing in Boston ans Seattle show LTE to provide mobile broadband connections in the 5Mbps range. Full scale rollout starts 4th quarter with 25 to 30 markets covered by years end. That is expected to double by mid 2011, and coverage in all currently 3G areas by years end 2013.

    Yes, this is my day job. How could you tell?

    Ever since I heard what LTE is doing I’ve been thinking about how we can use it to help marathons, like taking guests off the main internet connection and using MIFI type devices for all computers not used to stream the games/cams.

    1. While that would reduce the load for the in-house connection, people would still be limited by their own ISP’s.

      But you do have a point, if we did that we would be doing our part to ensure people got the most consistent stream we could possibly provide.

      1. I am refering to setting a MIFI mobile hotspot for non-streaming computers. Yes they would be limited by the ISP, but that ISP is a 4G cellular broadband network doing 5Mbps downloads and 1Mbps uploads. This would allow people in house who are doing other things, like moderating the chat, referencing walkthroughs or help guides, or just plain goofing off an alternate connection which would not impact or be impacted by the stream. A MIFI type device would allow multipe people to share a single access point.

        1. I was actually talking about the audience members who experience lag, and how the MiFi would help slightly to reduce that.

          But yeah, I understand the purpose the MiFi would have in the current TSG HQ, and I for one like the idea.

  2. I’m not sure if I know what I’m talking about, but I think LAN parties will remain as they are. Regardless of free WiFi or the penetrating abilities of lower frequencies, the simple fact remains: the closer you are to your source, the faster your connection is. Gamers can already play with each other over the internet; the advantage of LAN parties (other than the whole “IRL” thing) is that LAN is faster. Close-quarters LAN parties retain their advantages, even when you consider the effects you named.

    On the subject of free national WiFi, I’m somewhat pessimistic. Publicizing a privatized industry is an extremely arduous task, despite how much sense it makes in this case. I would express some reservation in that there may be health problems associated with all the wireless signals flying through our bodies. Even if humans are resistant to this, it can really mess up stuff like bees, which -hilariously- directly affect the price of our food.

    Of course, you are free to consider jealousy the root of my pessimism: free national Wifi for the States wouldn’t affect me up in Canada.

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