Waterloo researchers develop 200 times faster, low-cost network for 5G connectivity


As 5G network is ruling the roost from China to the US, researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a cheaper and more efficient method for Internet-of-Things devices to receive high-speed wireless connectivity, with potential to downsize the Chinese claims.

An estimated 75 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to benefit from the 5G connectivity by 2025, requiring a huge strain on requirements of wireless networks as the current WiFi and cellular networks would miserably fail to support the influx, said a new study by the researchers.

Millimeter wave (mmWave) technology is crucial for 5G networks but the hardware required to use this wave is expensive and needs more power, making the two factor the major deterrents to deploying 5G for IoT. The new connectivity developed by Waterloo researchers is a network that offers multi-gigahertz of unlicensed bandwidth, more than 200 times that allocated to today's WiFi and cellular networks.

"To address the existing challenges in exploiting mmWave for IoT applications we created a novel mmWave network called mmX, (which) significantly reduces cost and power consumption of a mmWave network enabling its use in all IoT applications," said Omid Abari, an assistant professor in Waterloo's School of Computer Science.

Compared to WiFi and Bluetooth, mmX provides much higher bitrate. and it will improve both mediums and also enables us to receive connectivity for all IoT devices much faster. It can also be used in applications, such as, virtual reality, autonomous cars, data centers and wireless cellular networks, said Ali Abedi, who is also a postdoctoral fellow at the Cheriton School of Computer Science.

"Any sensor you have in your home, which traditionally used WiFi and lower frequency can now communicate using high-speed millimeter wave networks. Autonomous cars are also going to use a huge number of sensors in them which will be connected through wire; now you can make all of them wireless and more reliable."

The study was recently presented at the ACM SIGCOMM 2019 conference.