A Cell-Phone Tower for Your Pocket
The signal your cell phone receives typically comes from a large microwave transceiver a few miles away. Now it can be supplied—over a short range, at least—by a device the size of a USB memory stick.
Two U.K. firms—PicoChip and Ubiquisys—have developed such pocket-sized, USB-powered devices, which connect to nearby cell phones using the same frequencies of a conventional tower. The gadgets use the Internet connection of a computer or other device to link back to the wider cell network and relay calls or data. PicoChip's is the size of a USB stick, while Ubiquisys' design is the size of a small cell phone.