Communication Waves

If we could only see WiFi, GPS, and Mobile phone waves, what would they look like?

A corner of New York City, with its myriad rooftop mobilephone transmitters.A corner of New York City, with its myriad rooftop mobilephone transmitters.

 

 

Wifi is an energy field that is transmitted as waves. The waves have a certain height, distance between them and travel at a certain speed. The distance between wifi waves is shorter than that of radio waves and longer than that of microwaves, giving wifi a unique transmission band that can't be interrupted by other signals. This image shows an idealized wifi data transmitted over a band that is divided into different sub-channels, which are shown in red, yellow, green and other colors.Wifi is an energy field that is transmitted as waves. The waves have a certain height, distance between them and travel at a certain speed. The distance between wifi waves is shorter than that of radio waves and longer than that of microwaves, giving wifi a unique transmission band that can’t be interrupted by other signals. This image shows an idealized wifi data transmitted over a band that is divided into different sub-channels, which are shown in red, yellow, green and other colors.

Wifi signals in Central Park, New York.Wifi signals in Central Park, New York.

 

 

1526204_215800051939061_947281763_nIt might look like a talented artist has been enthusiastically scribbling over an aerial photograph, but this is in fact a set of GPS data looking more beautiful than you could ever have imagined. The data was actually gathered from a crop-dusting aircraft, hence all these beautiful, looping routes. The colour coding signifies the course of travel, with each direction given its own particular hue.

Chicago Cell PhoneAt first glance, the visualisation just looks like some sort of indecipherable honeycomb rave, but there’s a whole lot of science behind the hexagonal blanket of mobilephone cellular transmission colours. A regular, hexagonal grid of cellular base-station sites is conceptualized for Chicago, with stations at the corners of the hexagons. The area within each sector antenna radiation pattern has different users being assigned different frequencies and their signals combine to form a single perceived colour in that instant. The channel combinations shown are not static, but rather change rapidly in time as different users are assigned different channels. Antenna signals extending beyond the original cells provide coverage over part of Lake Michigan.