Study: Load Balancing Boosts WiFi Speeds 400-700 Percent on Crowded Networks
November 16, 2012 6:58 AM
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NC State developed software can be used with existing network protocols and hardware
When it comes to WiFi networks, the key to boosting speed may not lie solely in adopting new,
faster hardware and software protocols
, but also in developing better software to balance loads when networks get overrun with traffic.
North Carolina State
(NC State) have
a program they call WiFox, which dynamically adjust channel priority for different
WiFi access points
, depending on usage.
At 25 users the system showed a 400 percent gain in throughput, while at 45 users the system sped the network up 700 percent versus traditional networking software. Best of all, the researchers say their program plays nicely with existing protocols and network hardware without the need for an upgrade.
The only potential downside is that if by some unfortunate occurrence all the access points in a region were overloaded, the gains might be diminished, hypothetically. But for most scenarios where some areas are swamped and others underutlized, the dynamic prioritizing concept could offer a big step forward.
The researchers are presenting their work at the
ACM CoNEXT 2012
conference in Nice, France. The paper's authors are Arpit Gupta (lead author), a Ph.D. student in computer science at NC State, Jeongki Min, a Ph.D. student at NC State, and Dr.
(senior author), a professor of computer science at NC State.
The research was funded by the
National Science Foundation
NCSU [press release]
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RE: Heavy users beware.
11/16/2012 11:57:03 AM
As I see it, this technology has nothing at all to do with individual users or their habits.
Since the access point and users are communicating on the same channel, they have to take turns transmitting.
If the access point starts developing a backlog of information to transmit, its priority to send that traffic goes up. The bigger the backlog, the higher the priority.
The effective limit that you are referring to is the physical limitations of how much data can be transmitted in that channel over a period of time. This is a hard limit, and while newer technologies can increase that limit, it usually requires new hardware on both ends.
This software simply provides a means of using that limited space more effectively, improving everyone's throughput.
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