New Wi-Fi tech ups speed by 700%

Impressive research from the North Carolina State University

November 15, 2012

Researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) have discovered a potential means to juice up the speed of Wi-Fi by a factor of seven, no less.

While your Wi-Fi performance at home might be fine (as long as you’ve got a reasonably recent, and decent, router), you probably aren’t too keen on the speeds you generally get when out and about using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Crowded areas, and loads of users on the hotspot bog the connection down considerably.

This is a problem that NCSU’s new software, WiFox, hopes to tackle, helping to improve Wi-Fi data throughput by up to 700 per cent.

In a press release, NCSU explained that the reason Wi-Fi gets sluggish in crowded areas is that users are sending data back and forth all on a single channel.

WiFox monitors the traffic level on a Wi-FI channel and intelligently gives an access point priority to send its data when that access point is developing a backlog of data. The bigger the backlog, the more priority is given – so WiFox is essentially directing the data as a traffic policeman would queues of traffic.

This means the more users on a Wi-Fi system, the more effective WiFox’s traffic guidance can be. In lab tests with 25 users it increased speeds by around 400 per cent, and with 45 surfers by up to 700 per cent.

Arpit Gupta, a PhD student in computer science at NC State and lead author of a paper describing WiFox, commented: “One of the nice things about this mechanism is that it can be packaged as a software update that can be incorporated into existing Wi-Fi networks.”

In other words, the software won’t require an overhaul of a system to take advantage of it. Hopefully we’ll see the benefits of this tech soon enough.


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