Add 200′ of range to your Wi-Fi devices for FREE!
This will never happen, mostly because networking OEMs aren’t really into doing anything for free*, but also because when you look at what the researchers at BYU have done it doesn’t really deliver a practical benefit. Holding on to a painfully slow (i.e. less than 1Mbps) connection isn’t really very useful for devices that people actually use. But, for IoT devices with miserly bandwidth requirements, something like this could be useful as long as the power requirements don’t take a massive bump upwards as well. Clicking through to the actual release (not sure Engadget when with a “Wi-Fi” mesh angle**), extending IoT range was the main goal of the effort.
The researchers, led by Brigham Young Unviersity, have dubbed the protocol On-Off Noise Power Communication (ONPC). While WiFi typically requires speeds of at least one megabit per second to maintain a signal, the ONPC protocol can maintain a signal on as little as one one bit per second. That’s one millionth of the data speed typically required.
* TBC, not a knock on them. Why put the dev time into developing something to give it away, then have to support it.
** On second thought, I have a pretty good guess***
*** The answer to every why-does-this-exist-on-the-Internet question is “clicks”