Wireless & Internet Tech

NASA's Low-Power Wifi "Reflector"

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Researchers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) design a wifi chip to bring great power savings to connected mobile devices through the use of reflections instead of the regular transmitter/receiver component.

Wifi reflection"The idea is if the wearable device only needs to reflect the wifi signal from a router or cell tower, instead of generate it, the power consumption can go way down (and the battery life can go way up)," researcher Adrian Tang says.

In a few words, the concept uses a simple switch mechanism where incoming energy absorbed the circuit is "0" and reflected energy is "1." Such a system uses very little power and allows for fast data transfer between a wearable device and any other device capable of receiving data.

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Wifi Alliance Launches Wifi Aware

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The Wifi Alliance presents a new certification program-- Wifi Aware, a means to validate the capability for energy-efficient, proxy-based service discovery among wifi-enabled devices.

Wifi AwareIn other words, it allows devices to discover other devices, applications and information nearby before making a wifi connection. The system continuously scans surroundings, anticipates actions and notifies users of available services and selected preferences.

The alliance adds the Wifi Aware operates indoors and in dense environments, and does not require cellular, wifi or GPS connectivity. Instead it makes use of small, power-efficient messages to create a common "heartbeat" between devices before an app initiates wifi connection to follow-up on activities such as photo sharing or multiplayer games.

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The Next Means of Device Charging: Wifi?

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Researchers at the University of Washington propose wifi can do more than simply wirelessly connect devices to networks and the internet-- it might also be able to charge device through "Power over Wifi" (PoWiFi).

BatteryThe system consist of two components, namely an access point (or router) and specially-built sensors. The access point features custom software allowing it to simultaneously act as power delivery source and wifi router, while the sensors harvest RF power and convert it into DC power.

Admittedly wifi signals carry a limited amount of power-- 1W to be precise, making it unsuitable with smartphones but still ideal for small connected devices. As such the researchers have used PoWiFi to power a small camera located 5m away from a router, as well as charge a fitness charger and temperature sensors.

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Old TV Frequencies for "Super Wifi"?

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Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) suggest governments should not auction off old TV frequencies to the highest bidders-- instead they be used to create a free "super wifi" network.

KIT super wifiOld TV frequencies allow the transmission of wifi over lower frequencies , resulting in coverage as wide as several kilometres in radius. Such a network could replace pricey mobile services of the 4G variety, leading to far wider mobile internet use.

Current wifi technology operates at high frequencies of 2GHz and above.

The KIT researchers say they also have a technique for the prevention network congestion via the reserving of a 90MHz interval in the UHF bands. Another argument in favour is that in any case the general public should be given preference to the use of electronics communications.

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A Kiss for Faster Wireless Connectivity

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Keyssa claims to have a faster means for the wireless transmission of large files between devices in close proximity-- Kiss Connectivity, a low-power system using extremely high frequency (EHF) signals.

Kiss Connectivity According to the company the technology operates at transfer rates of up to 6Gbits per seconds, allowing users to download a 1GB file in as little as 2 seconds. It also has lower power consumption and, being a point-to-point connection, is more secure than network-based solutions.

In comparison, current wifi speeds top at 1.34Gbps, while NFC clocks at around 400kbps.

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