Posted by: crudbasher | October 24, 2012

Perhaps A Bandwidth Breakthrough?

(cc) PhotoMimir

I have seen claims like this before so I am taking this one with a grain of salt. If true however, it could mean dramatically improved network performance for schools with just a software change.

Here’s the relevant info: (H/T Technology Review)

Academic researchers have improved wireless bandwidth by an order of magnitude—not by adding base stations, tapping more spectrum, or cranking up transmitter wattage, but by using algebra to eliminate the network-clogging task of resending dropped packets of data.

Basically what happens is some network traffic is lost during regular use. These packets are then asked to be resent by the net, therefore a delay happens while that happens.

What the new software does is:

The technology transforms the way packets of data are sent. Instead of sending packets, it sends algebraic equations that describe series of packets. So if a packet goes missing, instead of asking the network to resend it, the receiving device can solve for the missing one itself. Since the equations involved are simple and linear, the processing load on a phone, router, or base station is negligible, Medard says.

What is fascinating by this is it is software only; meaning theoretically you could download a new OS patch for your existing phone or laptop to introduce the capability.

Apparently several companies have already licensed the technology but non disclosure agreements prevent them from being identified. How much do you want to bet Apple is one of them?

I think this technology will have the most effect in places where wifi is overloaded or spotty, so this means most schools will definitely benefit. Since it’s software based, we will see in less than a year.


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