It may not have an immediate impact on the way WiFi is distributed (or stolen from neighbors), but it's still a remarkable achievement. A group of Italian radio operators is reporting that they have created the world's longest wireless Internet connection--a 5-GHz link spanning 188.89 miles between the island of Sardinia and Monte Amiata, a peak about 5,200 feet tall on the Italian mainland.
And it may, to the innovative entrepreneur, have business implications.
The group, called the Italian Center for Radio Activities (its Italian acronym: CISAR) used two high-powered "Carrier Class" radio modules manufactured by Ubiquiti Networks and parabolic dish antennas to sustain a permanent 5-Mbps link. The link is being used by ham radio operators on Sardinia to communicate with friends and colleagues on the Italian mainland.
The CISAR WiFi link-up represents a considerable technical accomplishment, as it required lining up the two parabolic dishes with a beacon. And it's just one part of much larger vision from CISAR: linking up all Italy with a new wide-band digital network.
The pioneering work extends a long legacy of innovation in radio technology by professional and amateur Italian engineers. In the late-19th century, for example, Guglielmo Marconi equipped ships with the first wireless communications systems, allowing captains to update shipping schedules based on weather conditions and S.O.S. for help when necessary. In 1907, Marconi also established the first transatlantic commercial wireless service.