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Technique puts more data into airwaves

As telecommunications designers add electronic mail and Internet access to cellular phones, they find it's like connecting a fire hose to a straw. Each phone user's tiny slice of the airwaves is too narrow to handle the full deluge of available data.

Now, scientists at Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., have found a way to boost the data-carrying capacity of each radio frequency as much as sixfold. They outline their scheme in the Jan. 18 Nature.

Besides feeding more data into each cell-phone link, the development could expand telecommunications in other ways, says Lucent's Michael R. Andrews. For instance, wireless companies might pack more customers onto each radio channel.

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