Super WiFi

WiFi TowerA team of Rice University students recently tested a new technology, “Super WiFi”, in Smithville, Texas, working with Technology For All Training Manager John Dees. The technology takes advantage of the unused analog TV broadcast channels to transmit Internet over a wider area than a standard WiFi signal.

The technology is being developed through a National Science Foundation grant to the university, and Technology For All is assisting with testing efforts in Houston and Smithville. “This is a really exciting innovation in the way people can get Internet,” said Dees.

The team of students, consisting of graduate and undergraduate students involved in Electrical Engineering studies, set up the Super WiFi system at the local high school football stadium bleachers. Using the stadium allowed the team to test the system without having to climb a water tower while getting the height needed to perform proper testing.

The Smithville ISD superintendent, Dr. Rock McNulty, paid the team a visit to see their work and ask questions. SISD is a TFA partner, working with the Houston-based organization on various technology projects and proposals. “This is exciting,” Dr. McNulty said, “We are happy to help.”

Smithville proved to be a good test site for the new technology, because of its rural area and availability of analog TV channels (called “white space”) to use. The team plans additional tests in the area, including a possible longer-term installation and test.