Internet speeds have improved significantly in recent years. Mobile networks are offering all you can eat data and wireless connections are more reliable than ever - but Wi-Fi is still far from perfect. We have all had to deal with a lagging connection at one point or another. This may become a thing of the past thanks to a new technology developed at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).
The team of researchers have unveiled a new technology that can triple Wi-Fi speeds and double signal range at concert venues, stadiums, and other large-scale access points. The following blog will take a closer look at the MegaMIMO 2.0.
What exactly is MIMO technology? The first thing you need to know is it is in widespread commercial use for wireless LANs and mobile phone networks. MIMO uses multiple transmitters to send out a strong signal, and multiple receivers to integrate and strengthen weak incoming signals. It has been proven to increase network bandwidth, range and reliability.
However, it has also been known to interfere with other wireless equipment. Have you ever tried to use your Wi-Fi at a large event? Then you’ve probably experienced a painfully slow connection. This is the result of Wi-Fi signals interfering with each other, because there isn’t enough bandwidth on the wireless spectrum to handle all the mobile traffic.
This is something that the researchers believe MegaMIMO can improve on.
How? MegaMIMO coordinates multiple routers so that they are working together, rather than interfering with each other. It only allows routers to send signals to one device per frequency at a time, which minimizes the interference between router signals.
According to Forbes contributor Kevin Murnane, MegaMIMO was tested with a setup composed of four independent transmitters and receivers located in the same area. The results highlighted how MegaMIMO 2.0 can solve a number of its predecessors’ problems:
“By coordinating the four transmitters, MegaMIMO 2.0 increased data throughput by a factor of 3.6. Because interference scales up with the number of transmitters in an area, eliminating interference with MegaMIMO 2.0 is expected to produce greater performance gains as the number of transmitters’ increases.”
MegaMIMO has huge potential. The key to its success will be whether it can be scaled up to coordinate larger numbers of access points. It could then be used at large venues like concerts, festivals and sporting events to guarantee a strong Wi-Fi connection.
Leaders in the mobile network will also be keeping a close eye on its progress. While 5G technology is being billed as the next major development in mobile technology, MegaMIMO creates some interesting possibilities. There would be significant demand from corporate organizations to build MegaMIMO into their mobile networks to speed up Wi-Fi connections. In theory, we could even see a version of MegaMIMO technology in future smartphones.
With the ongoing development of 5G networks and all you can eat data plans, Wi-Fi may seem less relevant than it was a few years ago. But there has also been a rise in non-cellular devices that require an internet connection. The IoT is bringing an increasing number of devices and appliances online and, in the not so distant future, we will need technologies like MegaMIMO to ensure a quality, high-speed connection.
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