If you’ve connected to a WiFi network at an airport, convention, or even at the mall around Christmas, you’ve probably experienced a common problem: an overloaded WiFi network
. Get too many people on the same access point, and you end up with a slow, spotty connection. Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a solution that can boost WiFi
performance by as much as 700 percent, they claim. And here’s the kicker: it’s software, so businesses can add it to their systems without hardware upgrades. The software is called WiFox.
Arpit Gupta is the lead researcher and developer for the WiFox project at NC State. Image Credit: CS Dept., NCSU.
Researchers studied the causes of WiFi performance degradation and developed WiFox, which monitors traffic and gives access points priority (for sending data) based on their backlogs. The researchers describe WiFox as a traffic cop for access points
. In lab tests on a 45-user WiFi network, they found a 400-percent improvement. When they cut the number of users to 25, they saw a 700-percent performance boost. WiFox is already getting attention - researchers are presenting a paper on their new software in mid-December at ACM CoNEXT 2012 in Nice, France.