MIT smart routers can bring order to a crowded network

MIT’s programmable routers can significantly reduce network bottlenecks.

Just as you hate when your network’s throughput comes crawling, researchers at MIT hates it as well. So as to sort out the mess, researchers at MIT have developed programmable routers that can keep up with today’s bandwidth heavy media content and video streams.

Rather than creating elaborate rule based systems for deciding which packet goes where, which in turn could bog down a router by consuming more CPU cycles, the researchers broke down the packets into simple computing elements which are complex enough to handle a wide range of tasks.

The elements can support one another and complete an intended task and this has given rise to them adapting to new conditions. The end result is that the new mobile game that you wanted does not slow down your smartphone any more.

This system, dubbed as the “MegaMIMO 2.0” (multiple input, multiple output) can coordinate multiple access points at once, syncing their phases so that multiple transmitters can use the same frequency slice without interference.

The result is a massive speed jump, almost 360% increase in comparison to conventional WiFi, in network performance. This breakthrough in technology could ensure that even in dense networks, such as in a concert or in a major urban area, cellular and WiFi services are unlikely to tank as often as they used to.

The challenge now is getting companies to adopt this technology. Given their typical attitude, it could be a while before a router manufacturer wakes up to the potential and adopts the technology.

Furthermore, this will also mean that wireless companies will have to collaborate with one another especially when competing networks are close to one another. However, if they decide to cooperate with one another bottlenecks in networks go be pretty much events of a bygone era.


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