You already know that Wi-Fi can remotely connect laptops to printers and even allow smartphones make calls or stream movies without network connections, but the problem is that using Wi-Fi this way consumes a lot of energy and drains batteries from connected devices.
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A team of computer scientists and electrical engineers from University of Washington has come up with a solution – using Wi-Fi at 10,000 times less the energy it should require with traditional methods. It even uses 1,000 lesser energy than existing energy-efficient systems like Bluetooth Low Energy and Zigbee - Phys.org reports.
The developers of the new Passive W-Fi will present these results at the 13th USENIX symposium on networked systems design and implementation billed to hold in March this year.
"We wanted to see if we could achieve Wi-Fi transmissions using almost no power at all," said co-author Shyam Gollakota, a UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering. "That's basically what Passive Wi-Fi delivers. We can get Wi-Fi for 10,000 times less power than the best thing that's out there."
The MIT Technology Review considers this new Wi-Fi system one of the 10 breakthrough technologies of 2016.
And for the first time, the new Passive Wi-Fi will transmit signals at up to 11 megabits per second and this will be received by billions of devices with Wi-Fi connectivity. This speed is lower that maximum Wi-Fi speed but 11 times higher than Bluetooth.
"All the networking, heavy-lifting and power-consuming pieces are done by the one plugged-in device," said co-author Vamsi Talla, an electrical engineering doctoral student. "The passive devices are only reflecting to generate the Wi-Fi packets, which is a really energy-efficient way to communicate."
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Bryce Kellogg, co-author and electrical engineering doctoral student noted Wi-Fi packets are created by the sensors, making it possible for the technology to connect with any other Wi-Fi device right out of the box. He said the sensors can communicate with any router, smartphone, tablet, or electronic device with a Wi-Fi chipset.