In a boon for the mining industry and internet users everywhere, University of Sydney telecommunications researchers are developing a safe and cost-effective technology that could be a wireless internet game changer. They are developing an industrial long-range WiFi system that transmits signals to hard-to-reach places while maintaining high data rates.
Supported by an $800,000 grant from the NSW Physical Sciences Fund, the system is being created for mission-critical applications in underground mines that require remote monitoring of workers and control of sensitive mining equipment, with signals extending as far as several kilometres underground. The system could also be used in places such as airports, shopping centres, university campuses and large industrial or agricultural settings.
Existing WiFi systems have mainly been designed for indoor applications and therefore have short communication ranges of less than 100 metres, as well as random and high latency. This makes them unsuitable for mission-critical applications.
Latency, in computing, electrical and information engineering, is the delay between a user's action and the time it takes to be transmitted or reproduced.
The Centre for IoT and Telecommunications researchers have designed long-range WiFi systems for ultra-low latency and high data rates, which allow wireless signals to travel several kilometres, while carrying more data without dropping out or experiencing lag.
Leading the project is Professor Yonghui Li, who said the research was a breakthrough for the mining industry, but would have a positive impact on many industries that rely on low latency and high data transmission.