The University of Washington may have just solved Wi-Fi power consumption problems once and for all. A group from the the University’s engineering department have created a Wi-Fi system that, according to them, uses 10,000 times less power than traditional Wi-Fi. “Passive Wi-Fi” as the team calls it, is compatible with current smartphones and routers.
According to a video describing Passive Wi-Fi, traditional Wi-Fi radios consume a lot of power mainly because of the analogue radio frequency (RF). In order to reduce power consumption of Wi-Fi radios in smartphones and digital devices, the Passive Wi-Fi only uses the digital baseband while the analogue RF band is delegated to a single plugged-in device.
The plugged-in device is used to send the wave RF signal to the Passive Wi-Fi device which then generates Wi-Fi packets and sends it to existing devices including smartphones.
The team has managed to achieve download speeds of up to 11Mbps which falls in line with most LTE download speeds. However, the team is now working on increasing the throughput.
The team say that this new technology will allow for new kinds of communications that was not possible before due to the power requirements of current Wi-Fi systems.
“We wanted to see if we could achieve Wi-Fi transmissions using almost no power at all. 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.”- Shyam Gollakota, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, University of Washington.