But silently, because they’re all on their smartphones – sharing selfies at baseball games and discreetly streaming music at the opera.
Shared WiFi connections in public places are convenient, and they obviously go beyond social media updates and content streaming while out and about. They’re also intended for sending a quick email in a busy airport, or sharing ideas at a business conference. Whether for pleasure or profession, we depend on public WiFi to the point that slow performance due to overburdened networks can be frustrating.
Fortunately, a team at MIT may have developed a way to boost WiFi speed and range for the masses: MegaMIMO 2.0.
Why can’t current transmitters keep up?
Reinforcing WiFi with more routers is the best way to combat slowness due to congestion. As a result, you likely pass a plethora of them when you walk through your local concert venue or conference center. They do their job of boosting WiFi throughout the facility fairly well, but they could do it much (perhaps 3x) better.
In an MIT News report, Ezzeldin Hamed, PhD student at MIT and lead author of the research paper detailing MegaMIMO 2.0, said “in today’s wireless world, you can’t solve spectrum crunch by throwing more transmitters at the problem, because they will all still be interfering with one another.” The solution lies in getting them all to work together.
MegaMIMO 2.0 synchronizes transmitters
MegaMIMO 2.0 is the next wave of MIMO, Multiple In Multiple Out, technology. With the current system, your smartphone, laptop or other WiFi-consuming device is connected to multiple routers at the same time. This boosts your speed, but can lead to a lot of interference, especially if you’re moving around.
Hamed argues that “the answer is to have all those access points work with each other simultaneously to efficiently use the available spectrum.” MegaMIMO 2.0 synchronizes routers so they can transmit data to multiple receivers without getting in each other’s way.
Early tests have shown that MegaMIMO 2.0 can boost WiFi speeds by three times or more and double the range. Such improvements could drastically affect WiFi performance in high-occupancy, data-consuming affairs like concerts and sporting events.
What’s more is that the premise behind the technology could be used for cellular signals. The result could reduce network interference in high-usage situations like emergencies and natural disasters.
Faster speeds, longer range will be worth investing in new routers
The new technology does require an equipment upgrade, but the new hardware is the same size as many of the routers out there now. Other than initial costs, and figuring out what to do with the old hardware, there likely won’t be much holding businesses back from implementing MegaMIMO 2.0 technology. We could soon be enjoying faster speeds and increased range at concerts, sporting events, conferences and anywhere data transfer could be slowed by users.