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Indian origin researcher’s team achieves WiFi at 10,000 times less power

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Washington: A team of US Engineers which included and Indian origin researcher demonstrated that it is possible to generate Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 less power than conventional methods. This is an attempt to save more energy while playing games and doing other things that eat more energy.

The new “Passive Wi-Fi” system also consumes 1,000 times less power than existing energy-efficient wireless communication platforms, such as Bluetooth Low Energy and Zigbee, said computer scientists and electrical engineers from the University of Washington.

“We wanted to see if we could achieve Wi-Fi transmissions using almost no power at all. That is 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,” said study co-author Shyam Gollakota, assistant professor of computer science and engineering.

“Passive Wi-Fi” can for the first time transmit Wi-Fi signals at bit rates of up to 11 megabits per second that can be decoded on any of the billions of devices with Wi-Fi connectivity. These speeds are lower than the maximum Wi-Fi speeds but 11 times higher than Bluetooth. Apart from saving battery life, wireless communication that uses almost no power will help enable an “Internet of Things” reality where household devices and wearable sensors can communicate using Wi-Fi without worrying about power.

“All the networking, heavy-lifting, and power-consuming pieces are done by the one plugged-in device. The passive devices are only reflecting to generate the Wi-Fi packets, which is a really energy-efficient way to communicate,” explained co-author Vamsi Talla, an electrical engineering doctoral student. To achieve such low-power Wi-Fi transmissions, the team essentially decoupled the digital and analog operations involved in radio transmissions.

The Passive Wi-Fi architecture assigns the analog, power-intensive functions – like producing a signal at a specific frequency — to a single device in the network that is plugged into the wall. An array of sensors produces Wi-Fi packets of information using very little power by simply reflecting and absorbing that signal using a digital switch.

In real-world conditions on the university campus, the team found the passive Wi-Fi sensors and a smartphone can communicate even at distances of 100 feet between them. Because the sensors are creating actual Wi-Fi packets, they can communicate with any Wi-Fi enabled device right out of the box. “Our sensors can talk to any router, smartphone, tablet or other electronic device with a Wi-Fi chipset,” noted electrical engineering doctoral student Bryce Kellogg.

The technology can enable entirely new types of communication that haven’t been possible because energy demands have outstripped available power supplies. It could also simplify our data-intensive worlds. “Now that we can achieve Wi-Fi for tens of microwatts of power and can do much better than both Bluetooth and ZigBee, you could now imagine using Wi-Fi for everything,” said Joshua Smith, associate professor of computer science and engineering.

The technology has also been named one of the 10 breakthrough technologies of 2016 by the journal MIT Technology Review. A paper describing those results will be presented in March at the 13th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation in California. (IANS)

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India 2nd in Government Requests for Users’ Data on Facebook

In the second half of 2018, Facebook identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight nations in the first half of 2018

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FILE - A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

The Indian government requested Facebook to provide data for 20,805 users (including 861 emergency requests) — second only to the US government — in the July-December 2018 period and the social networking giant provided some data in 53 per cent of the cases.

During the second half of 2018, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally by 135 per cent — from 15,337 to 35,972.

“This increase was primarily driven by 16,600 items we restricted in India based on a Delhi High Court order regarding claims made about PepsiCo products,” said Facebook in its latest Transparency Report for the second half of 2018.

The US government asked for users’ data in 41,336 cases wherein Facebook provided some information in 88 per cent of the cases.

“In the second half of 2018, government requests for user data increased globally by seven per cent from 103,815 to 110,634,” Chris Sonderby, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, said in a statement late Thursday.

“Of the total volume, the US continues to submit the highest number of requests, followed by India, the UK, Germany and France,” he added.

In a separate post, Facebook said it removed more than three billion fake accounts in the October 2018-March 2019 period, saying that about 5 per cent of its monthly active users were fake.

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FILE – The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Facebook disabled 1.2 billion accounts in Q4 2018 and 2.19 billion in Q1 2019.

“For fake accounts, the amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president for integrity, said in a blog post.

According to Rosen, for every 10,000 times people who view content on Facebook, 11 to 14 views contained content that violate the platform’s adult nudity and sexual activity policy.

In the second half of 2018, Facebook identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight nations in the first half of 2018.

Also Read: OPPO, Samsung, Apple Most Preferred Brands by Gen Z

“This half, India accounted for 85 per cent of total new global disruptions,” the company informed.

In this period, on Facebook and Instagram, the company took down 2,595,410 pieces of content based on 511,706 copyright reports; 215,877 pieces of content based on 81,243 trademark reports; and 781,875 pieces of content based on 62,829 counterfeit reports.

“In Q1 2019, we took action on about 900,000 pieces of drug sale content, of which 83.3 per cent we detected pro-actively. In the same period, we took action on about 670,000 pieces of firearm sale content, of which 69.9 per cent we detected pro-actively,” added Rosen. (IANS)