The world record distance for an un-amplified wireless LAN signal has been smashed by three Ohio teenagers.
The 55.1 mile range achieved between two large satellite dishes is considered more representative of the technology than the outright world record of 310km, which was achieved using a weather balloon and a heavily amplified signal.
The teens, known collectively as PAD, were competing at the second Annual Defcon Wifi Shootout Contest, held in the Nevada desert. The effort was made using two consumer-grade USB 802.11b WiFi adapters, each connected to a 9.5 foot diameter satellite dish.
The verified connect distance of 88.7km (55.1 miles) beat the previous un-amplified record of Canarias Wireless of Spain, which had reached 70.5km. The greatest distance ever achieved for a WiFi connection was 310km, set by wireless broadband equipment vendor Alvarion Ltd in 2002 with help from the Swedish Space Corporation.
However, while this effort holds the Guinness world record it used weather balloons to launch the equipment. This provided a clear line of sight which together with additional amplification pushed the limits of 802.11b technology outside its usual design parameters.
Bluetooth short range wireless technology has also been pushed over an extreme range recently. The technology, which usually has a nominal range of 10m, was used to perform file transfer over 1km using a high-gain antenna in a demonstration in California by a team from the Daily Wireless web site.