Researchers at Rice University have come up with new technology that could allow mobile phone carriers to double the throughput of their networks without adding more cell towers.
The researchers have developed the ‘full duplex’ technology that allowswireless devices like smartphones and tablet devices to ‘talk’ and ‘listen’ to cell phone towers using the same frequency. Before this, two frequencies were required.
"Our solution requires minimal new hardware, both for mobile devices and for networks, which is why we've attracted the attention of just about every wireless company in the world," said Ashutosh Sabharwal, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice.
"The bigger change will be developing new wireless standards for full-duplex. I expect people may start seeing this when carriers upgrade to 4.5G or 5G networks in just a few years," he continued.
Sabharwal and his team published the paper on full duplex technology in 2010, after which they went on to prove the technology could be used in a real mobile phone network.
"We send two signals such that they cancel each other at the receiving antenna -- the device ears. The cancelling effect is purely local, so the other node can still hear what we're sending," Sabharwal explained.