This On-chip RF circulator can double Wi-Fi speedsJune 20, 2016 9:34 pm
Tags: full duplex communication, microchip, wi-fi speed
Engineers from Columbia University have recently developed a technology that is capable of doubling Wi-Fi speeds using a single antenna, which gives hope for people who have snail-speed Internet connections.
Professor Harish Krishnaswamy, Columbia University’s Director of High-Speed and Mm-wave IC (CoSMIC) Lab has successfully integrated a non-reciprocal circulator and a full-duplex radio on a nanoscale silicon chip to create the breakthrough system.
“This technology could revolutionise the field of telecommunications,” said Prof Krishnaswamy as reported in Dailymail. “Our circulator is the first to be put on a silicon chip,” he remarked.
The discovery was the offshoot of an invention called nanoscale ‘full-duplex radio integrated circuits’, which could simultaneously transmit and receive using the same frequency enabling it to double its capacity. Prior to the invention, this was thought to be impossible. Previously, transmitters and receivers could either work at different times or at the same time, but at different frequencies.
How Does It Work?
This new duplex system allows the simultaneous transmission and reception of the same frequency in a wireless radio through the use of switches to rotate the signal across a set of capacitors.
Discovering a full-duplex communication is the key interest of the researchers because of its potential to double the network capacity, which is in contrast to the half-duplex communication that is currently used in cell phones and Wi-Fi radios.
This technology, which has been an ongoing development for several years, has finally resulted into the creation of a nanochip that combines the circulator with the rest of the chip that could allow for a Wi-Fi receiver that is half the size of the traditional component to be used in smartphones and other mobile devices.
“Full-duplex communications, where the transmitter and the receiver operate at the same time and at the same frequency has become a critical research area and now we’ve shown that Wi-Fi capacity can be doubled on a nanoscale silicon chip with a single antenna. This has enormous implications for devices like smartphones and tablets,” Prof Krishnaswamy exclaimed.
“Being able to put the circulator on the same chip as the rest of the radio has the potential to significantly reduce the size of the system, enhance its performance, and introduce new functionalities critical to full duplex,” explained co-researcher Jin Zhou, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University.
As described in the said report, the research team had to ‘break’ Lorentz Reciprocity in order to develop the technology and create the new device. This theory is the fundamental physical characteristic of most electronic structures that requires electromagnetic waves to travel in the same manner in forward and reverse directions.
“It is rare for a single piece of research, or even a research group, to bridge fundamental theoretical contributions with implementations of practical relevance,” Prof Krishnaswamy said.
The research was published in the Nature Communications journal and recently presented at the 2016 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, California.
Stay tuned to learn more useful tips on how to get the best possible connection at home. To get the best Internet plans for your home, you can visit our Plan Guru or call 13 22 88 to speak to our 100% Australian advice specialists.