Monday, September 5, 2011

Rice University Researchers Develop Full-Duplex Wireless

Researchers at Rice University in Houston have developed a "full-duplex" technology with potential usage in 4G or 4.5G networks. The breakthrough promises to double total throughput in the network without adding new cell towers in the same frequency band, according to the university.

Building on theoretical work published last year, the researchers have now demonstrated signal quality at least 10 times better than any previously published result. The systems uses an extra antenna and a clever cancellation algorithm in the receiving end without requiring complex, new radio hardware.

"We showed that our approach could support higher throughput and better link reliability than anything else that's been demonstrated, which is a plus for wireless carriers," said Ashutosh Sabharwal, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice. "On the device side, we've shown that we can add full duplex as an additional mode on existing hardware. Device makers love this because real estate inside mobile devices is at a premium, and it means they don't have to add new hardware that only supports full duplex."

Rice is planning to roll its full-duplex innovations into its "wireless open-access research platform," or WARP. WARP is a collection of programmable processors, transmitters and other gadgets that make it possible for wireless researchers to test new ideas without building new hardware for each test. Sabharwal said adding full-duplex to WARP will allow other researchers to start innovating on top of Rice's breakthrough.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Roberto Rocca Education Program and Xilinx Incorporated.