Scientists improve bandwidth with algebra

Top researchers have emerged from their smoke filled labs with a way to use the equations to speed up broadband.

Algebra is used to kill off the problem of resending dropped packets of data and by providing new ways for mobile devices to solve for missing data, the technology not only eliminates waste but  can also merge data streams from wi-fi and LTE.

The algebra involves changing the way packets of data are sent. Instead of sending packets, it sends algebraic equations that describe the packets. If a packet goes missing, instead of asking the network to resend it, the receiving device can solve for the missing one itself.

According to Technology Review, the equations involved are a doddle and the processing load on a phone, router, or base station is tiny.The development comes from researchers working at NBC Universal and  MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics who claim that any IP network will benefit from this technology.

Dropped packets cause delays in themselves, and then generate new back-and-forth network traffic to replace those packets, compounding the original problem. But the new system, coded TCP, increased available bandwidth even on a dodgy connection.

A normal bandwidth of one megabit per second was boosted to 16 megabits per second. In a circumstance where losses were five percent the method boosted bandwidth from 0.5 megabits per second to 13.5 megabits per second.

Medard’s group set up proxy servers in the Amazon cloud. IP traffic was sent to Amazon’s cloud, encoded, and then decoded as an application on phones. If the technology were built directly into transmitters and routers, it would speed things up even more. It could also be used to merge traffic coming over wi-fi and mobile phone networks rather than forcing devices to switch between the two frequencies.