Low-cost, low-power network developed for 5G connectivity

TORONTO: Researchers have developed a cheaper and more efficient method for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices to receive high-speed wireless connectivity. With 75 billion IoT devices expected to be in place by 2025, a growing strain will be placed on requirements of wireless networks.

Contemporary WiFi and cellular networks will not be enough to support the influx of IoT devices, researchers from the University of Waterloo said in the study presented at ACM SIGCOMM 2019 conference in China. Millimetre-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.

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.

“mmX significantly reduces cost and power consumption of a mmWave network, enabling its use in all IoT applications,” said Omid Abari, Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo. 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 centres and wireless cellular networks,” said study researcher Ali Abedi.

According to the researchers, any sensor you have in your home, which traditionally used WiFi and lower frequency can now communicate using high-speed mmWave networks.