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Broadband Auto

At a Kokomo, IN, test track that is run by automotive supplier Delphi, drivers can listen to FM, AM or Internet radio, while their back seat passengers watch digital videos. MeshNetworks in Maitland, FL, is developing one of the first wireless networks capable of transmitting broadband data to vehicles traveling at highway speeds. In conventional cellular-data networks, a radio must communicate directly with an Internet gateway, limiting how far a user can travel before the connection breaks. But in a so-called mesh network, gateways and routers-and even the radios in different cars-recognize and talk to each other automatically, passing data along to their final destination. This increases the distance data can travel. Delphi also envisions using the system to transmit engine data to mechanics or to help drivers navigate without global positioning system software. MeshNetworks expects to begin building the wireless networks over the next year, and Delphi says the technology might appear in 2006 car models.

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