A team of engineers at Columbia University (US) have published a research that shows how a nanoscale silicon chip with a single antenna can double WiFi capacity .
A team of Columbia University engineers, led by Harish Krishnaswamy, the director of Columbia High-Speed and Mm-wave IC (CoSMIC) Lab, implemented the full-duplex radio integrated circuits (ICs) technology with a single antenna, that is used as a receiver and a transmitter simultaneously.
Generally, the full-duplex technology works with two antennas – one that works as a transmitter, and the other as a receiver. The alternatives to full-duplex are time-division-duplex and frequency-division duplex, that use a single antenna but don’t provide the doubled Wi-Fi capacity. Researchers have now integrated a non-reciprocal circulator on a nanoscale chip, which enables full-duplex communications where the transmitter and the receiver share one antenna.
The traditional way of building radio-frequency circulators, that make it possible to get a full duplex with a single antenna, was using magnetic materials such as ferrites, an expensive material that made the circulator bulky, and consequently not suitable for today’s lightweight compact smartphones.
The engineers built a circulator with conventional materials, so that the new technology can double Wi-Fi capacity with a single antenna, fit on
a nanoscale chip, and is suitable for devices like smartphones and tablets.
According to Krishnaswamy, this technology “is a game changer” for the telecommunications industry; the researchers are still working to further improve the performance of the circulator.