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Scientists Develop Cheaper and More Efficient Network for IoT Devices

A research team at the University of Waterloo has developed a new technique that provides a cheaper and more efficient option for Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices to obtain high-speed wireless connectivity.

(Image credit: University of Waterloo)

By 2025, as much as 75 billion IoT devices are anticipated to be in place, which would place an increasing strain on wireless network requirements. The scientists emphasized in their latest study that modern WiFi and cellular networks will not be sufficient to support the flood of IoT devices.

Millimeter-wave (mmWave) is a type of network that provides multi-gigahertz of unlicensed bandwidth, which is over 200 times that assigned to existing cellular and WiFi networks. This network can be used to tackle the impending problem.

In reality, mmWave technology is going to power 5G networks. But the hardware needed to use the mmWave network is not only power-hungry but also costly, which act as considerable deterrents to deploy it in several IoT applications.

To address the existing challenges in exploiting mmWave for IoT applications we created a novel mmWave network called mmX. mmX significantly reduces cost and power consumption of a mmWave network enabling its use in all IoT applications.

Omid Abari, Assistant Professor, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo

Compared to Bluetooth and WiFi networks, which are slow for several IoT applications, the mmX network offers a relatively higher bitrate.

mmX will not only improve our WiFi and wireless experience, as we will receive much faster internet connectivity for all IoT devices, but it can also be used in applications, such as, virtual reality, autonomous cars, data centers and wireless cellular networks,” stated Ali Abedi, a postdoctoral fellow at the Cheriton School of Computer Science.

Abedi continued, “Any sensor you have in your home, which traditionally used WiFi and lower frequency can now communicate using high-speed millimeter-wave networks. Autonomous cars are also going to use a huge number of sensors in them which will be connected through wire; now you can make all of them wireless and more reliable.”

The study titled “A Millimeter Wave Network for Billions of Things,” authored by Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics researchers Abedi, Abari, and research assistants Soroush Ameli and Mohammed Mazaheri, was recently presented at the ACM SIGCOMM 2019 conference.


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