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Texas researchers aim to solve wireless bandwidth bottleneck, hopefully before SXSW 2012

Darren Murph

As anyone attempting to stream high-quality video on any major metropolitan subway has likely found, doing so often requires the patience of Job and a willingness to spend more time 'buffering' and less time 'enjoying.' It's a problem that's particularly evident at crowded events like the never-ending South by Southwest, and it's probably no coincidence that a team from The University of Texas at Austin are now spending their waking hours attempting to solve the looming wireless bandwidth crisis. Five faculty in the school's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department have been selected to receive a $900,000 gift from Intel and Cisco to "develop innovative and novel algorithms that could improve the wireless networks ability to store, stream and share mobile videos more efficiently." Their work is part of a five university tie-up, seeking to solve quandaries such as tower interference, selective compression (read: pixelating the areas you don't pay attention to in order to squeeze more out of the existing infrastructure), cell tower intelligence and data output redundancy. Hard to say if any of the major carriers will be implementing proposed solutions in the near future, but we can think of at least one company that's crossing its fingers in hopes of that very outcome.

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