MIT’s “Smart Surface” can improve Wi-Fi signal

by Kelvin

The “smart surface” is a board with small antennas that have a low cost and a great potential to boost the wireless signal.

The researchers of the MIT CSAIL have developed a “smart surface” that could be a solution to one of the big problems of our “wireless age”: the effort that some small devices have to put in to maintain a good Wi-Fi signal when there is so little space for positioning. antennas. We here from showmetech let’s tell you more about this news.

A smart surface to amplify Wi-Fi

Scientists have created a smart surface (smart surface, in free translation) called RFocus which, according to them, can function both as a mirror and as a lens to focus the radio signals on the right devices on both sides of this “screen”. This improves the median signal strength by almost 10 times, in addition to doubling the median channel capacity in an office environment.


Instead of just a few stationary antennas, the RFocus prototype has around 3,000 tiny antennas with software that organizes them to maximize signal reception. In other words, RFocus is acting as a beamforming controller in the middle, rather than allowing the radio terminals – transmitters and client devices – to manage this activity, something that would be difficult to implement on tiny devices.

However, technological gains are not the only advantage behind RFocus’ smart surface. The price of the product would also be a big draw! The expectation is that the array will have a low cost, with just a few cents per antenna, and would consume little energy compared to the conventional system.

Despite the nearly tenfold improvement, the RFocus doesn’t actually use signal amplification, which means the antennas themselves don’t emit energy, thus generating a reduced expense power.

Unfortunately, there is still no mention of how long RFocus is expected to be available for commercialization between companies and users. The team would not only have to refine the design, but find a way to produce it on a large scale – ideally in the form of “thin and cheap wallpaper”, without the need for any kind of funding. At least it is already clear to researchers the wide range of uses the smart surface can have.

The first of RFocus’ great features lies in its ability to provide stronger, longer-range connections for all types of mobile technology, from WiFi The 5G high-band. Furthermore, the smart surface can actually show its true technological potential when applied in the context of IoT devices that are too small to have a wireless link or need some additional component to maintain reliable signals.

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