(Reuters file)
(Reuters file)

Researchers develop low-power, low-cost network for 5G connectivity

  • With 75 billion IoT devices expected to be in place by 2025, there would be a growing strain on requirement of wireless networks
  • Contemporary WiFi and cellular networks unlikely to be enough to support the influx of IoT devices

Bengaluru: Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a cheaper and more efficient method for Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices to receive high-speed wireless connectivity.

With 75 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices expected to be in place by 2025, there would be a growing strain on requirement of wireless networks. Contemporary WiFi and cellular networks won't be enough to support the influx of IoT devices, researchers highlighted in their new study.

Millimeter wave (mmWave), a network that offers multi-gigahertz of unlicensed bandwidth -- more than 200 times that allocated to today's WiFi and cellular networks, can be used to address the looming issue, researchers noted in a 29 August press statement. In fact, 5G networks would be powered by mmWave technology. However, the hardware required to use mmWave is expensive and power-hungry, which are significant deterrents to it being deployed in many IoT applications.

"To address the existing challenges in exploiting mmWave for IoT applications we created a novel mmWave network called mmX," said Omid Abari, an assistant professor in Waterloo's David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. "mmX significantly reduces cost and power consumption of an mmWave network enabling its use in all IoT applications."

In comparison to WiFi and Bluetooth, which are slow for many IoT applications, mmX provides much 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," said Ali Abedi, a postdoctoral fellow at the Cheriton School of Computer Science. "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."

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