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WiFox Improves Public Wi-Fi Performance ‘By 700 Percent’

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Researchers at North Carolina State University claim software upgrade can improve public Wi-Fi performance

Researchers at North Carolina State University claim they have developed a method that could increase the performance of public Wi-Fi hotspots by as much as 700 percent.

The upgrade can be applied to existing networks through a piece of software called WiFox, which prioritises data traffic in large audience Wi-Fi environments.

The co-authors of the report, Jeongki Min, Arpit Gupta and Dr Inkong Rhee, will present their findings at a conference in Nice next month.

WiFox set to improve public Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi Coffee Laptop © Sergej Khackimullin - Fotolia.comThey say that Wi-Fi traffic is often slowed down in places like coffee shops and airports because the Wi-Fi hotspot that they are connected to sends data back and forth through a single channel.

This means that the more people there are using the hotspot, the more difficult it is for the data to be sent back to them. This problem is exacerbated if the access point has a permanently high priority, meaning that it will often override user requests, making it difficult to send any data.

The researchers say that Wi-Fox effectively acts as a traffic cop by ensuring the data is moving in both directions. It monitors the amount of traffic on this single channel and grants the access point priority to send its data when a backlog is developing. The longer the backlog, the higher the priority, ensuring that data is returned to users as quickly as possible.

WiFox was tested on a W-Fi network that could handle up to 45 users and it found that the more users on the system, the more the new program improved data throughput performance. Improvements ranged from 400 percent with 25 users to 700 percent with 45 users.

“One of the nice things about this mechanism is that it can be packaged as a software update that can be incorporated into existing WiFi networks,” said Gupta. ““WiFox can be incorporated without overhauling a system.”

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