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Wireless Bandwidth Boosted Tenfold, Without New Infrastructure

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Researchers have managed to boost wireless bandwidth by ten times, and without any new infrastructure such as new base stations, more spectrum, or transmitter wattage. They’ve done it by eliminating network-clogging using algebra, MIT Technology Review reports.

While testing the new technology on Wi-Fi networks at MIT, researchers found that usual bandwidth of 1 megabit per second was boosted to an impressive 16 megabits per second.

Networks get clogged by the task of continually resending dropped packets of data. By providing new methods for phones and other mobile devices to solve the missing data, the breakthrough technology eliminates the wasteful resending process. It also seamlessly weaves data streams from Wi-Fi and LTE, and apparently any IP network will be able to benefit from this technology.

The technology works by transforming the way data is sent. That is, it sends algebraic equations instead of sending packets. If data goes missing during the transfer, rather than resending the data, the receiving device can work the issue out itself. Further, the algebraic equations are linear and simple, so they don’t tax the processor of the device, base station, or router.

If it works well on a bigger scale than in lab testing, this breakthrough has come at an opportune time, as mobile data traffic is expected to grow massively during the next few years. Bell Labs has predicted traffic could grow by as much as a factor of 25 by 2016. Cisco Systems is a little more conservative in their estimate of a factor of 18 by 2016. Either way, the new technology should help to make wireless networks more efficient.

Would you like your phone to be sucking-in data at 16 megabits per second? Yeah, I thought so. Me too.

Image CC licensed by Dominic Alves

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