A new technology could allow wireless providers to double their services without having to construct even so much as a single new cell phone tower, according to researchers in the United States. Scientists from Rice University have created a new “full duplex” technology which would allow wireless devices such as tablet computers and new and old cell phones to “talk” and “listen” to wireless cell towers at the same time on the same frequency, a feat that is currently impossible.
At the moment, cell phones are able to achieve two way communications only by the use of two different frequencies – one for receiving and one for sending – as when sending the antenna of a phone is overwhelmed by its own signal and cannot hear any incoming signals on the same frequency. The team from Rice University however has beaten this problem by using some computer trickery and an extra antenna, the university announced in a press release yesterday.
“We send two signals such that they cancel each other at the receiving antenna – the device ears,” says a professor of electrical and computer engineering from the university, Ashutosh Sabharwal. “The canceling effect is purely local, so the other node can still hear what we’re sending.”
With cell phone networks constantly requiring more and more capacity, Sabharwal sees the new technology as being vital to the future of such communications. “I expect people may start seeing this when carriers upgrade to 4.5G or 5G networks in just a few years,” he says.