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New wireless record claimed

A wireless Internet provider in Idaho claims that it has beaten a record recently set at the Defcon Wifi Shootout Contest. Photos: A Wi-Fi challenge

A small wireless Internet service provider in Idaho and a wireless equipment start-up claim to have set a new record for transmitting data across a wireless link this week.

Microserv Computer Technologies, based in Idaho Falls, and Trango Broadband Wireless, a fixed-wireless broadband equipment maker, announced on Tuesday that they wirelessly transmitted data over unlicensed spectrum 137.2 miles.

A wireless record?

Microserv used gear from Trango to establish the wireless links between two mountaintops in Idaho using the 2.4GHz and 5.8 Ghz wireless spectrum. The link was able to transmit an FTP file transfer at the rate of 2.3 megabits per second. The equipment used was not based on standard 802.11 wireless technology, but instead was based on proprietary radio technology from Trango. The companies also used external PacWireless 2-foot dishes to transmit the radio signals.

The demonstration supposedly beats a previous record set at the end of July as part of the Defcon Wifi Shootout Contest, during which the winners claimed to transmit data 125 miles. On July 30, a group of college students from Cincinnati connected two computers across the Las Vegas desert using standard 802.11b Wi-Fi radios. The group used a collection of homemade antennas, surplus 12-foot satellite dishes, home-welded support structures, scaffolds, ropes and computers to wirelessly transmit data at 11mbps.

Despite Microserv's claims, Defcon officials say their record holds.

"I suppose it's certainly possible for Microserv to have done what they claim to have done," Dave Moore, founder of the Defcon contest, said in an e-mail. "What sets apart the 125-mile record set at the Defcon Wifi Shootout Contest is that it was subject to a strict verification and certification process administered by four independent judges."