OnLive Founder Claims "Impossible" Wireless Breakthrough

Earnest Cavalli

New member
Jun 19, 2008
OnLive Founder Claims "Impossible" Wireless Breakthrough

When it comes to wireless communications, Steve Perlman doesn't believe in limits. Even if those limits are backed by a half century of physicists and electrical engineers.

Before I explain Perlman's new system, allow me to introduce you to Claude Shannon []. While working at Bell Labs in 1948, Shannon published "A Mathematical Theory of Communication" which outlined his theory that there is a definite upper limit to the speeds at which data that can be transmitted wirelessly.

In the last six decades, "Shannon's Law" (as it came to be known) has been repeatedly proven mathematically, and no one has been able to create a device capable of violating it.

You can imagine the strangled gasps and monocles popping off in shock when OnLive founder Steve Perlman took the stage at the recent NExTWORK conference and claimed his startup, Rearden Companies, has created tech that shatters the Law.

According to a conversation Perlman had with Wired, Rearden's researchers currently transmit data at speeds "10 times the limit, know they can achieve 100 times the limit, and are optimistic they can push it to 1,000 times faster or more."

I won't claim to understand the science behind Perlman's technology (known as "distributed input distributed output" or "DIDO" for short) but the feature list outlined at the conference is stunning.

According to Perlman, DIDO communications would eliminate the need for cellular towers. Instead, the proposed DIDO base stations would be about the size of a wireless router and have an effective broadcast range of 30 miles, through solid objects that would otherwise block cellular signals. Rearden scientists are hopeful that with more testing they can implement base stations with a broadcast range of 250 miles.

Even more impressively though, is the "unlimited bandwidth" DIDO seemingly offers. Wired explains:

If a cell tower today broadcasts on channels that have a capacity of 100 megabits of bandwidth per second, and 100 people connect to that cell tower and share bandwidth equally, each person's connection will measure roughly one megabit per second. If 1,000 people connect, each will get 100k bits per second. With DIDO wireless signals, everyone within range would get the entirety of the channel.

"I know that sounds impossible," says Perlman, "but literally if you have a cell that has 100 megabits per second worth of bandwidth in it and you have 100 people, each person gets 100 megabits a second. It's really pretty amazing; you don't interfere with anybody else."

Full details can be found at the official DIDO patent [].

The Wired piece seems warily hopeful that DIDO might remove any need for bandwidth caps on cellular networks, and while that may technically be true, there is still the problem of the cell phone business relying entirely on the ignorance of the average person to leverage insane profits.

And, of course, even getting to the point where we have to gather up torches and pitchforks for a trip to visit Verizon shareholders relies on the still suspect idea that Perlman's DIDO tech actually does what he claims.

Normally I'd dismiss this kind of thing immediately as being impossible, but when it comes to Perlman, I've learned not to make that mistake. I thought the idea of streaming playable Crysis 2 in high detail to a low-end PC via cable Internet was a total impossibility until OnLive proved me wrong, so if Mr. Perlman says he's broken the laws of physics in the quest for a better cell phone signal, I'm on board.

Source: Wired []



New member
Oct 5, 2010
I don't claim to understand what he's talking about, but I know science changes and "impossible" today is the regular of tomorrow. However, I am a learner from the believe it when I see it school of technology. If it's true, holy crap. If not, I don't see what they could gain from a massive lie, so I figure at least part of it should be true.

Xaryn Mar

New member
Sep 17, 2008
I would like to see Scientific proof (physical and mathematical) before I believe in his claims.
Some of them (the one quotede in the OT) seems impossible since there will always be a physical limit to the speed the information can be sent at (specifically the speed of light) and the router/cell will be constrained by the resistance in the wires/chips unless they are made with superconductors.


New member
Nov 18, 2009
All I can say is that I hope this true and we start replacing cellular towers with these things.


New member
Mar 18, 2011
Won't happen.
Even if he does succeed, he will be crushed by the other providers.
The reason behind that is that if he succeeds, a large precent of the profits will decline for the cell phone companies.
A comparison can be seen in the automobile market where a fuel efficient engine is not invented for the fear that Oil companies will lose their profits therefore fuel efficient engines don't exist (commercially, there is very little research or SERIOUS research.).

We'll wait and see how this gladiatoral fight will continue.


books, Books, BOOKS
Jan 19, 2011
United States
I really want to believe this is true, but until I see proof that this works like he says it can, I will be skeptical until then.

But I REALLY want this to be true, that would freaking amazing! Then cellphone companies will have to do something about it, like use that technology and stop this capping bs that they've been pulling. All assuming what he's claiming is true though.


is wondering how long this can b
Mar 22, 2010
Is this Steorn again?

Would they like investment in return for this amazing design just so they can do the final stages?


New member
Jan 17, 2009
Well, now maybe he should work on transferring solid objects through cellular signals. I'm pretty sure he can do it.


New member
Jul 10, 2010
yes i was surprised by OnLive too, until i found out you need really good internet and living in a good USA city to have a good reception. OnLive right now is the equivalent of high class restaurants. Sure, theyre good and worth it, but only if you live in the big city where they are. Otherwise, taking a hundred mile trip just to eat filet mignon at 100 dollars isnt worth it. and neither is OnLive.

on topic, i doubt these claims are true. Im willing to bet its the same case that happened with OnLive. oh sure, this works, but only if you have this connection, and yu live near this place.

ill wait and see.


New member
Nov 1, 2007
He's probably telling the truth. Financially there is no benefit to lying in this manner, he runs a business, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

If you want to make money you say you have MORE restrictions not less.

That's how you trick folks.


King over my mind
Mar 29, 2011
Veloxe said:
If not, I don't see what they could gain from a massive lie, so I figure at least part of it should be true.
a couple million in shareholder cash and a plane ticket?

Still, very impressive, if true.


e^(i * pi) + 1 = 0
Apr 5, 2010
This is odd... to say the least. I have a degree in Electrical Engineering, mostly specialized on communications, and if this is true, it would be a major breakthrough. If they're really breaking Shannon's limits, this would affect all communications, not just over wireless.

By skimming the patent, the idea seems to be to distribute different communications parameters across the network, using the best local parameters for each link. This still does not say how they break Shannon's limit. Let's see if this works in practice.


New member
May 26, 2008
Hey, 90% of the technology we use every day was literally science fiction when most of us were born. It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to say that this is possible.


New member
Oct 11, 2010
I got $50 bet that AT&T and Comcast join up to buy these guys out and take that new invention and put it on the first rocket to the Sun.


Swamp Weather Balloon Gas
Apr 11, 2011
It also sounds like an invitation to open a portal for the deep ones.