Researchers at the Brigham Young University have created a new wireless protocol which could in the near future considerably extend the range of wireless networks throughout your home. The On-Off Noise Power Communication (ONPC) protocol is capable of extending existing wireless connections by up to 60m.
While Wi-Fi requires speeds of at least one megabit per second (1 Mbps) to maintain a signal, the “ONPC” protocol Lundrigan and his co-authors created can maintain a signal on as low as 1 bit per second — one millionth of the data speed required by Wi-Fi.
“To do so, Lundrigan, Neal Patwari of Washington University (in St. Louis) and Sneha Kasera of the University of Utah adjusted the transmitter in a Wi-Fi-enabled device to send wireless noise in addition to data. They programmed into the Wi-Fi sensor a series of 1s and 0s, essentially turning the signal on and off in a specific pattern. The Wi-Fi router was able to distinguish this pattern from the surrounding wireless noise (from computers, televisions and cell phones) and therefore know that the sensor was still transmitting something, even if the data wasn’t being received.” – “That’s the really cool thing about this technology: it’s all done in software,” said Phil Lundrigan, assistant professor of computer engineering at BYU. “In theory, we could install this on almost any Wi-Fi-enabled device with a simple software update.”
“The researchers made clear to point out that their ONPC protocol is not meant to replace Wi-Fi or even long-range wireless protocols like LoRa, but is meant to supplement Wi-Fi. Specifically, only when Stayin’ Alive detects that the Wi-Fi device has lost its connection, it starts transmitting data using ONPC. That being said, authors believe the innovation could make LoRa even longer range or be used on top of other wireless technologies. “We can send and receive data regardless of what Wi-Fi is doing; all we need is the ability to transmit energy and then receive noise measurements,” Lundrigan said. “We could apply this to cellular or Bluetooth as well.”
For more information on the new On-Off Noise Power Communication (ONPC) protocol jump over to the official BYU website.