'Paint can' dongle boosts rural broadband

A 3G 'dongle' designed to improve rural access to broadband connections has been launched today.

The Deltenna WiBe (for wireless broadband enabler) is a WiFi basestation that links to the internet over a 3G connection. The company claims that it can deliver 2Mbit/s even when a 3G mobile phone wouldn’t register a signal.

The device’s maximum throughput is 7.2Mbit/s. Deltenna says that tests in rural areas show an average download bandwidth of 2.8Mbit/s, and that the WiBe can deliver 30 times more throughout than a standard 3G dongle and five times greater range.

The device uses a patented antenna design and proprietary alignment algorithms to automatically identify the strongest mobile cell nearby and then to configure its aerials to achieve the best possible connection. It is 18cm tall and 13cm in diameter and takes a standard SIM card.

Tests have shown the system can accept more than 10 VoIP connections, enabling it to act as an inexpensive small business phone hub.

Andrew Fox, CEO of Deltenna said: “There are still millions of people throughout Europe and the US for whom fast broadband is a myth. The WiBE seeks out distant base stations and, as you would with a set-top TV aerial, fine tunes its antennas to get the perfect signal.”

Deltenna plans to launch an LTE version of the WiBE next year, which it says could enable typical rural broadband speeds of 50Mbit/s and above, once LTE networks are in place.

Deltenna expects the WiBE will be available through mobile operators before Christmas.

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