‘Consumers can use plastic fibers to improve cheap Wi-Fi’

Jul

6

2018

Plastic fibers can be a cheap and easy-to-use means for consumers to improve the WiFi range in homes. A PhD student at TU / e has developed techniques that make this possible.

The doctoral research of Federico Forni focused on the suitability of plastic fibers to improve home networks. More and more devices in the home are making use of Wi-Fi, but the disturbance of wireless networks of neighbors is also increasing and the installation of extra access points costs money and is not easy for everyone.

Radio-over-fiber can send a Wi-Fi signal over fiber, but fiber optic is vulnerable and the connection is difficult and costly. Copper cables have the disadvantage that they can not transmit a radio signal, so that access points are needed for the conversion to Wi-Fi. Forni: “Plastic fibers have a much smaller capacity than fiber but, in contrast to copper wire, sufficient to transmit a WiFi signal, together with the signal for your fixed connections for internet, TV and the like.”

By sending a radio signal over plastic fibers, it is easier to use endpoints , explains Forni against Tweakers. “In this way, at the endpoint only strengthening and filtering the signal is needed instead of a whole access point.” The technology that Forni has developed ensures that the Wi-Fi signal is adjusted in such a way that the Wi-Fi signal at the end of a plastic fiber of fifty meters still has sufficient power. “The bandwidth of the plastic fiber is about 1 gigahertz, which means that a signal of 2.4 gigahertz is strongly attenuated, but I have found a way to improve that signal as well as possible”, Forni reports .

According to him, the advantages of the cables are that the consumer can build them himself, that they are robust and that the material is cheap. In cooperation with TNO, the sending of lte signal was also demonstrated by the cables. “The range has been tested to twelve meters, enough for a large living room, everything worked out fine, from streaming videos to calling via Skype.” Forni hopes that the industry will start working on it commercially.

TU / e POF

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