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MIT Researchers Develop Smart Routers To Solve Wi-Fi Problem With Overcrowded Networks

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A team of researchers from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) of the Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT) have recently come forward with a possible solution for better network connectivity within congested and crowded areas.

The network situations in places such as campuses, offices, airports and stadiums packed for sports events and concerts are almost always abysmal because of the number of routers and access points installed to extend the network coverage to the entire area.

Note that while this strategy gets the job done in terms of getting everyone connected, the routers and access points also create interference for each other since they function on the same frequency range, resulting in slow internet for everyone connected.

In a recently published study titled "Real-time Distributed MIMO Systems," the team of Ezzeldin Hamed, Hariharan Rahu, Mohammed Abdelghany and Dina Katabi demonstrated that their new multiple in, multiple out system called MegaMIMO 2.0, which is no bigger than a standard router, can double the signal range and transfer data more than three times as fast as other existing systems.

With MegaMIMO 2.0 in control, the problem of interference that arises from having multiple access points gets eliminated. It does this by synchronizing the phase of multiple access points. Hence, multiple access points can transmit freely on the same frequency and at the same time even on congested networks.

Moreover, the new MegaMIMO 2.0 adapts to changing channel conditions, which is demonstrated in the video as a person passes in front a transmitter. This makes it more viable for deployment in the congested areas that were cited.

"This work offers a completely new way to deliver Wi-Fi in campuses and enterprises," says Sachin Katti, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford University. "Whereas current solutions often have slow, spotty performance, this technology has the potential to deliver high-capacity connectivity to each and every user."

According to MIT, the system will soon be commercialized. Aside from that, the MegaMIMO 2.0 is also getting pushed as a possible answer to the Spectrum Crunch issue that the United States is facing.

"The answer [to Spectrum Crunch] is to have all those access points work with each other simultaneously to efficiently use the available spectrum," comments Hamed, lead author for the research paper.

The team will present their study for the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Data Communications (SIGCOMM 16) next week.

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