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MIT Researchers: MegaMIMO 2.0 Could Boost Wireless Data Rates Three-fold

August 26, 2016 By Molly White in

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) believe they have a potential solution to the wireless spectrum crunch, an issue that has grown to warrant the attention of President Barack Obama and the White House. The researchers call their solution MegaMIMO 2.0. 

MIT Professor Dina Katabi recently led a team demonstration of MegaMIMO 2.0, a wireless data transport technology capable of transferring digital data more than three times faster than existing systems while doubling signal range at the same time, according to a CSAIL news report.

Better yet, MegaMIMO 2.0 soon will be available commercially. The breakthrough is the technology’s ability to coordinate multiple access points coincidentally on the same frequency without creating interference. That results in dramatic improvements in wireless network data transport speed and signal strength, particularly in heavy-usage situations such as concerts, conventions and sports events, CSAIL highlights.

The team’s research focused on comparisons against Wi-Fi networks, but according to the researchers the technology can also be applied to cellular networks.

MegaMIMO 2.0

Testing MegaMIMO 2.0’s performance capabilities, the CSAIL research team set up a mock conference room with four sets of laptops that were mounted atop Roomba robots that roamed around the room. Results revealed that the system could increase data transfer speeds 330 percent.

Housed inside a box casing about the size of a standard router, MegaMIMO 2.0’s hardware includes a processor, real-time baseband processing system and transceiver board.

“In today’s wireless world, you can’t solve [the] spectrum crunch by throwing more transmitters at the problem, because they will all still be interfering with one another,” explained CSAIL member and PhD student Ezzeldin Hamed, who is the lead author of a new research paper on the topic.

“The answer is to have all those access points work with each other simultaneously to efficiently use the available spectrum.” 

Research team member Hariharan Rahul is to present the MegaMIMO 2.0 research paper at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communicatons (SIGCOMM 16) conference next week.