Scientists at MIT claim to have created a new wireless technology that can triple Wi-Fi data speeds while also doubling the range of the signal. Dubbed MegaMIMO 2.0, the system will shortly enter commercialisation and could ease the strain on our increasingly crowded wireless networks.
Spectrum crunch is a huge problem for network operators, caused by a growing number of smartphones, laptops and other internet-enabled devices combined with a limited amount of space on the networks they're connected to.
Multiple-input-multiple-output technology, or MIMO, helps networked devices perform better by combining multiple transmitters and receivers that work simultaneously, allowing then to send and receive more than one data signal at the same time. MIT's MegaMIMO 2.0 works by allowing several routers to work in harmony, transmitting data over the same piece of spectrum.
"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," Ezzeldin Hamed, lead author on a paper on the topic, told MIT News. "The answer is to have all those access points work with each other simultaneously to efficiently use the available spectrum."
MIT claimed that during tests, MegaMIMO 2.0 was able to increase data transfer speed of four laptops connected to the same Wi-Fi network by 330 percent. Paper co-author Rahul said the technology could also be applied to mobile phone networks to solve similar congestion issues.
The system is similar in size to a standard Wi-Fi router and could prove particularly useful at high-capacity events where large numbers of people are fighting for bandwidth space, such as concerts and football matches.
In June, the Wi-Fi Alliance began rolling out its new 'Wi-Fi Certified ac' specification, which brings Multi-user Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) support to routers and networked devices.