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Students set out to transform management of dense wifi networks

Researchers at Stanford University are working on a project that aims to improve the way users access wifi networks in their homes and enterprises

Researchers at Stanford University are working on a project that aims to improve the way users access wifi networks in their homes and enterprises

Students at US educational institution Stanford University are working on a research project that aims to improve the way users access wifi networks in their homes and enterprises.

BeHop is a research project for the management of dense wifi networks, which aims to better understand how such networks coexist and how they can better work together. It is run by a team from the university’s department of electrical engineering who said they hope to create a way to ensure there are no spots with poor coverage or lag while users stream video content over wifi.

The researchers, led by PhD candidate Yiannis Yiakoumis, aim to use consumer access point equipment with open source SDN technology to manage the networks in a way that ensures fast and reliable wifi access for all.

They are piloting a network in a dormitory at the university campus that provides dense wifi infrastructure, which each student can access and manage as a personal private network. Students wishing to participate in the project will have their own private wifi access point installed in their room.

“Our goal is to improve your wireless network experience,” the research team wrote on the project’s website.

“First, our Access Points support higher rates than the existing equipment installed at [dormitory] Studio 5. Also, by installing an AP in your room (and therefore closer to you), your wireless coverage is much better leading to better performance. Finally, we will co-ordinate the operation of all these APs to ensure certain properties (efficient use of the spectrum, load-balancing of clients, etc).”

There are already services on the market, such as global wifi network provider Fon, that have set out to make better use of wifi network connectivity. Fon allows consumers with a broadband subscription to join its wifi hotspot network by purchasing one of its routers. The router enables all fellow Fon members to use that wifi connection securely when on the move, and in turn, the subscriber is able to roam on all member hotspots for free.

In January, the firm raised $ 14m in funding from several investors, led by Qualcomm, and in March last year, Deutsche Telekom called on Fon for its WLAN TO GO offering.

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