While the world – both the urban and rural parts– strives to go wireless, there are significant challenges to face. One of those challenges is the amount of power required for wireless networks, a problem that is particularly acute in rural areas. Another is distortion, which can interrupt signals and render wireless networks unreliable.
Researchers at the University of Arkansas may be on track to solving both problems. Engineers there have received funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation toward a goal of creating distortion-tolerant communications for wireless networks that use very little power.
Image via Shutterstock
The research is expected to improve wireless sensors deployed in remote areas where these systems generally have to rely on batteries or energy-harvesting devices such as solar panels for power, Science Daily is reporting today.
“Ultra-low power consumption is one of the most formidable challenges faced by the next generation of wireless sensing systems,” said Jingxian Wu, assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Arkansas.
“These systems will need to operate without interruption for multiple years and with extremely limited battery capacity or limited ability to scavenge energy from other devices. This is why the NSF was interested in our research,” Wu added.
Wireless networks aren't being deployed only for person-to-person communication. Increasingly, they are being used for industrial and public safety uses, such as monitoring water quality, keeping tabs on the health of animals and reporting on the condition of tunnels, buildings and bridges. By finding a solution for reduced power consumption in these networks, researchers believe they can allow devices to operate for longer without recharging and without human intervention.
The researchers also hope to solve the problem of distortion.
“During data transfer, distortion occurs if the received message is different from the transmitted message,” reported Science Daily. “In digital communication systems, the data are transmitted in the form of zeroes and ones. Due to noise and interference during the transmission process, the receiver might receive a zero when a one was transmitted or vice versa.”
Wu and colleagues plan to use the U.S NSF funding to advance the knowledge of ultra-low power wireless networks. They will construct and test theories, design tools to enable distortion-tolerant technologies and design and develop prototype networks.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Brooke Neuman