Public Wi-Fi is a fantastic invention. In fact, it’s one of the only reasons I visit Starbucks and McDonalds when I’m away from my house. But public Wi-Fi has one major shortcoming – it slows down when a lot of people are using it.
Whether you’re at an airport or your local coffee shop, you’ve probably been the victim of slow Wi-Fi speeds at some point in your life. Since tablets and smartphones are now using more data than ever before, our public Wi-Fi networks are facing a veritable crisis of slowness.
And one team of researchers was so fed up with the problem that they decided to take matters into their own hands: researchers at North Carolina State University claimed to have found a way to boost Wi-Fi performance by between 400% to 700%.
What? 400% to 700%? If that number seems high to you, then you’re not alone. That would be a massive increase in public Wi-Fi speeds that would change the way we use the internet in all sorts of public places.
The best part about the NC State University’s solution is the fact that it doesn’t require some massive antenna installation or some advanced booster. Instead, the solution is a new software program called WiFox which can easily be installed onto existing wireless networks.
WiFox manages Wi-Fi users in a more intelligent way. Instead of allowing users to fight amongst themselves for their own slice of the Wi-Fi pie, WiFox:
“…monitors the amount of traffic on a WiFi channel and grants an access point priority to send its data when it detects that the access point is developing a backlog of data.”
Users with longer and larger backlogs of data have higher priority. The program has been described as a “traffic cop” for wireless networks because it keeps data moving smoothly in all directions.
What does all of that information mean for users? Well, the traffic management program increases wireless network performance by about 400% when there are 25 people on the network, and by about 700% when there are 45 users.
That means the wireless network will respond to user requests four to seven times faster than it normally would.
Hopefully, the WiFox program will start to appear on wireless networks in the very near future. Since the program involves a simple software update, it can easily be installed without overhauling the system. What’s not to like?