Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New software alleviates wireless traffic

Date:
April 11, 2013
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
The explosive popularity of wireless devices —- from WiFi laptops to Bluetooth headsets to ZigBee sensor nodes —- is increasingly clogging the airwaves, resulting in dropped calls, wasted bandwidth and botched connections.

The explosive popularity of wireless devices -- from WiFi laptops to Bluetooth headsets to ZigBee sensor nodes -- is increasingly clogging the airwaves, resulting in dropped calls, wasted bandwidth and botched connections.

New software being developed at the University of Michigan works like a stoplight to control the traffic and dramatically reduce interference.

The software, GapSense, lets these devices that can't normally talk to one another exchange simple stop and warning messages so their communications collide less often. GapSense creates a common language of energy pulses and gaps. The length of the gaps conveys the stop or warning message. Devices could send them at the start of a communication, or in between information packets to let other gadgets in the vicinity know about their plans.

"All these devices are supposed to perform their designated functions but they're using the same highway and fighting for space," said Kang Shin, the Kevin and Nancy O'Connor Professor of Computer Science at U-M. "Since they don't have a direct means of communicating with each other because they use different protocols, we thought, 'How can we coordinate them so that each can perform their functions while minimizing interference with the others?'"

The researchers tested GapSense and found that it could reduce interference by more than 88 percent on some networks with diverse devices. Shin and Xinyu Zhang, a former doctoral student in electrical engineering and computer science, will present the work April 18 at the IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications in Turin, Italy.

To get a sense of how many wireless devices exist today, in 2013, CTIA, the Wireless Association counted more than 321 million WiFi-enabled cell phones, laptops and tablets in the United States. That's more than one device per person, and it's just the items that use WiFi, the protocol that transmits big chunks of data over relatively long distances.

Bluetooth and ZigBee use the same wireless spectrum as WiFi, but they all speak different languages. Bluetooth, shorter range and less powerful, can connect headsets and keyboards to phones and computers, for example. ZigBee, the lowest powered of the group, links networks of small radios to automate home and building systems such as lighting, security alarms and thermostats. It's also found in hospitals, where it gathers medical data from patients.

All these devices are already equipped with the standard "carrier sense multiple access," or CSMA, protocol that programs them to listen for radio silence before they send their own transmissions. But often it doesn't work.

ZigBee takes 16 times longer than WiFi to gear up from its idle state to transmit information, so sometimes it might sound to WiFi that the coast is clear when a ZigBee packet is on its way out.

"The little guy might be talking, but big guy cannot hear it," Shin said. "So the little guy's communication will be destroyed."

That's just one of several potential problems GapSense can help remedy. The researchers tested the software in a simulated office environment. With moderate WiFi traffic, they detected a 45 percent collision rate between ZigBee and WiFi, and GapSense reduced that to 8 percent.

The software could also address the so-called "hidden terminal" problem. Newer WiFi standards allow for faster data rates on wider bandwidths than the standard 20 megahertz, but devices on different bandwidths can't hear one another's communications to avoid talking over them. GapSense could enable these devices on different standards to talk in turn. At moderate WiFi traffic, the researchers detected around 40 percent collision rate between wider- and narrower-bandwidth devices and GapSense reduced it to virtually zero.

GapSense could also reduce energy consumption of WiFi devices by 44 percent. It would accomplish this by allowing the WiFi receiver to operate at low clock rates. With the software, the faster-clocked WiFi transmitter could send a wake-up message to the slower-clocked receiver in time for it to synch and catch an information packet.

"The impact of GapSense is huge in my opinion," Shin said. "It could be the Tower of Babel for the increasingly diversified world of wireless devices."

The paper is titled "Gap Sense: Lightweight Coordination of Heterogeneous Wireless Devices." The work is funded by the National Science Foundation. The university is pursuing patent protection for the intellectual property and is seeking commercialization partners to help bring the technology to market.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "New software alleviates wireless traffic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411123506.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2013, April 11). New software alleviates wireless traffic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411123506.htm
University of Michigan. "New software alleviates wireless traffic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411123506.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Airlines Swanky New Plane

China Airlines Swanky New Plane

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) China Airlines debuted their new Boeing 777, and it's more like a swanky hotel bar than an airplane. Enjoy high-tea, a coffee bar, and a full service bar with cocktails and spirits, and lie-flat in your reclining seats. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins