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Simple Circuit Could Double Cell-Phone Data Speeds

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This circuit could allow cellphones and other devices to double their data bandwidth.

A newly developed circuit could allow cellphones and other devices to double their data bandwidth.

Credit: University of Texas

University of Texas researchers have developed a circulator, a simple circuit that could enable smartphones and other wireless devices to send and receive data twice as fast as is currently possible.

The new circuit makes it possible for a radio to simultaneously send and receive signals on the same channel in a process known as full-duplex communications, and the researchers say it should translate to a doubling of the rate at which information can be moved around wirelessly.

The circulator can isolate signals coming into a device from those it is sending out, acting as a selective filter between a device's antenna and its radio circuitry. The researchers note the circuit design uses only conventional circuit components and avoids magnets.

"It's very cheap, compact, and light," says University of Texas professor Andrea Alu. "It's ideal for a cell phone."

The circulator is equipped with components called resonators that force signals to travel around in only a clockwise direction. When a wireless device's antenna is connected to one of the wires leading into the circle, it isolates signals that have just been received from those the device has generated for the transmission itself.

"It's a very new way to look at a very old problem, and has some very good results," notes Stanford University professor Philip Levis.

From Technology Review
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