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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 01, 2009

HD Video over WiFi Presents Opportunity for Developers

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director

Wired networking, while still useful for many bandwidth-intensive applications, is quickly being supplanted by WiFi (News - Alert) networking, particularly in residential networks. Even in the business market, though, WiFi is being deployed with increasing regularity enhance productivity.
In fact, a survey released earlier this year by wireless security solutions provider AirMagnet (News - Alert) indicates that more than 92 percent of the 342 businesses surveyed will extend their WLAN deployments this coming year — despite the economy.  This only serves to underscores yet another benefit of wireless networks — in addition to added convenience and productivity, they are less costly to deploy than wired networks, in addition to being much simpler, since there is no cabling to run across ceilings and through walls.
The challenge with WiFi, though, has always been its ability to handle heavy loads and high-bandwidth applications, like voice, and even more so, video. Video, in particular, is placing an incredible strain on WiFi networks as both video-based collaboration and Web-based media sites, like YouTube, continue to grow in popularity.
Certainly, the development of the 802.11n standard has helped, enabling increased throughput and range. D-Link’s (News - Alert) recently announced Extreme N 450 Dual Band Router, for instance, is said to deliver a 50 percent increase in throughput over many other commonly deployed solutions — reaching as high as 450 Mbps in optimal (e.g., lab) conditions.
But, as network technology advances, so, too, do the applications that those networks are required to deliver. Enter HD video.
While many existing WiFi routers are capable of handling standard definition video feeds, they are ill-equipped for the proliferation of HD televisions and set-top boxes, as well as higher resolution laptop and desktop monitors, is driving the use of HD video in homes and businesses.
The combination of increased WiFi adoption and the growth of the HD video market presents a natural opportunity for WiFi equipment developers looking to cash in on this dual trend, which is only going to continue to grow.  Celeno Communications and Ralink (News - Alert) Technology Corporation are looking to capitalize on that opportunity, having announced an agreement to team on a WiFi networking solution specifically to enable delivery of HD video across WiFi networks.
Ralink Technology’s expertise specifically in 802.11x technology, while Celeno manufactures semiconductors targeting the multimedia WiFi networking applications market. The two are a natural fit for addressing the growing need for delivering HD video across WiFi networks.
Ralink’s chipsets are designed not only to deliver the throughput, range, and reliability specified by the 802.11n standard, but are built with an eye towards integration into any number of digital multimedia devices that are now supporting HD codecs, including cameras, video game consoles, and HDTV equipment.
Celeno’s SoC technology allows home gateways, multi-room DVRs and media servers can distribute multiple and simultaneous HD video streams to standard set-top boxes, PCs, television sets and other WiFi enabled consumer devices.
The combined effort brings a cost effective wireless solution — notably, with the ability to deliver HD over WiFi (HoFi?), the two companies hope will extend their collective market presence among global service providers.
The initial result of this collaboration, the CLR230 802.11n chipset, will be introduced into the market by Celeno in July.

Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Managing Editor of TMCnet, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to nearly 3,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erik Linask