NCSU Researchers Develop Speedy WiFox Protocol

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new WiFi protocol that could boost wireless network throughput by up to 700%, ExtremeTech reports

NCSU logo 1.gif                     wifox-logo 1.jpg

The new technology, to be presented at the ACM CoNEXT conference in December, is especially significant because it is entirely software-based. With relative ease, the scheme could be implemented in existing WiFi networks, vastly improving throughput and latency at high-traffic wireless network locations.  

NC State's research team has dubbed the software protocol WiFox, which operates as firmware on a WiFi access point. The software closely monitors congestion levels and alternates rapidly between normal and high priority states. In high priority mode, WiFox takes control of the access point and clears backlog on the wireless network channel. 

With a testbed employing a single WiFi access point and 45 connected devices, the NCSU researchers recorded a increases of 400-700% in throughput, with speed improvements of 4x. While exact figures on the test are not available, ExtremeTech's Sebastian Anthony writes that assuming a modern 802.11n network, the results represent a jump from about 1Mbps to 7Mbps, with latency decreased by 30-40%. 

The precise scheme of WiFox's technology has not yet been disclosed, but along the lines of Coded TCP, the software likely relies on an algorithm to quickly detect congestion and transmit a rush of data exclusively in one direction or the other, before returning to a normal state. 

As of now, there is no timeline for commercial deployment of WiFox, however the possibility of its rapid adoption as a firmware update could mean that common WiFi choke points are not far off from a major breakthrough.