Wireless networking communication speeds have long been limited because the incoming and outgoing data transfers could not occur at the same time. Using the same technology that allows simultaneous chatter was complicated to plan as well as cost-prohibitive.
Now, however, scientists at Stanford University have broken through the prior technological barrier and devised a two-way radio communication technique that “mimics the way humans are able to screen out the sound of our own voices during a conversation”, essentially doubling the potential speed of Wi-Fi networks.
“Textbooks say you can’t do it,” Philip Levis, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering at Stanford, told PC Pro this week. “The new system completely reworks our assumptions about how wireless networks can be designed. Unlike radio before it has the unique ability that it can receive and transmit at the same time.”
“It’s like two people shouting messages to each other at the same time,” Levis explained. “If both people are shouting at the same time, neither of them will hear the other.”
Researchers say that this innovation relies on two hardware-based transmitters for each side of a two-way radio “conversation”, with one transmitter on each side working as a noise-cancellation device to level the transmissions. Without that key piece of hardware, the conversation cannot take place because it is “like trying to hear a whisper while you yourself are shouting.”
“The two transmit signals interfere destructively at the receive antenna to create a dead signal that the receiver can’t ‘hear’,” Levis says. “So you create this null position where the receiver can’t hear that signal and so is able to receive packets from other areas.”
While it may be a while before this technology makes its way into consumer networking hardware, patents are already in the works and commercialization will soon follow. Wi-Fi speeds are already good, but in my opinion faster is definitely better.