5G Mobile Internet on the Horizon?

Mobile Internet is the biggest thing to come along since, well, cell phones and the Internet. Now, before 4G internet is even mainstream, the possibilities of 4.5G and 5G are on the horizon.

Researchers at Rice University have made a breakthrough that could allow wireless companies to double throughput in their networks without adding a single cell phone tower or overhauling existing phone hardware.

“Full duplex” wireless would enable phones and tablets to¬† “talk” and “listen” on the same frequency, something that requires two frequencies today. In 2010, professor of electrical and computer engineering Ashutosh Sabharwal along with Melissa Duarte and Chris Dick published the first paper showing that full-duplex wireless was possible. That set the worldwide wireless community off on a race to see if it could be implemented on real networks. This summer, Sabharwal and Guarav Patel demonstrated in real-time that it could be done. They set new performance records while they did it, producing signal quality at least 10 times better than any previously published result. All they did was add an extra antenna and pulled a few computing tricks.

All this could mean new wireless standards allowing carriers to upgrade to 5G in just a few years.

“Our solution requires minimal new hardware, both for mobile devices and for networks, which is why we’ve attracted the attention of just about every wireless company in the world,” said Sabharwal.