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University of Michigan's GapSense may help WiFi harmonize with wireless neighbors

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 11, 2013
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WiFi is an unintentional bully in the wireless world: as it has to be powerful and respond quickly, it tends to drown out less demanding protocols like Bluetooth and ZigBee. The University of Michigan's GapSense software could have the format finally learning to play well with others. By instituting a common set of alerts determined by pulses and gaps, researchers could have every wireless device giving a heads-up to others when data is on the way. The trick would force patience on WiFi devices and offer a higher priority to less aggressive standards. Along with giving every device a chance to breathe, GapSense could improve the performance of WiFi itself -- the technology could lower WiFi's power draw by as much as 44 percent through slowing down the receiver, which would sometimes only have to wait for notice from the transmitter. The university doesn't have a timetable for practical use of GapSense, but it does want to produce a shipping product. We just might see considerably less wireless gridlock should that research translate to reality.

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