You might know Steve Perlman as that guy who comes up with really interesting ideas that kind of, sort of don't work out very well. He was the man behind both WebTV and OnLive, but his newest venture has attracted the attention of Dish, which has a big pile of wireless spectrum licenses. Dish has just licensed some of its spectrum to Perlman's Artemis Networks for use in a completely new kind of wireless network, and it could soon be operating in San Francisco.


As we run increasingly short on usable wireless spectrum, Artemis Networks is developing a technology that thrives in these messy wireless environments. At the heart of the technology is something called a pCell (seen above). It's like a tiny cell tower that can beam custom wireless signals that won't interfere with each other to multiple devices using a system called Distributed-Input-Distributed-Output (DIDO).

Basically, each device connected to a pCell has its own bubble of cellular service that runs at full speed. This differs from the standard cellular system where you have to get in line with everyone else and wait for your turn to send and receive packets. I am assured DIDO is actual technology and not magic, but there's a 99-page whitepaper on it if you want to decide that for yourself. There's also a video below.

Artemis' pCells are based on LTE, so you'll be able to make use of it with existing devices that run on the licensed PCS H block wireless frequencies (in the 1900MHz range), which is an improvement since pCell was first demoed last year. There are apparently some devices already on the market that will work—all the magic definitely real technology is handled on the back end with DIDO servers and pCell access points.

Artemis Networks is currently seeking FCC approval to begin deployment of pCells in San Francisco, but that's just the start. Dish has a national block H license. If this works, it could be a big deal.