Boffins have come up with a method of speeding up the mobile networks in cities by giving all users portable nodes. A study, which is being conducted at Queen’s University in Belfast, would involve wearable sensors carried by members of the public. These would interact to transmit data between each other, allowing for far lower power requirements than a traditional antenna, greater coverage, and the capability to adapt to demand.
Instead of having thousands of separate connections between different devices and a single phone mast, each participant in the network would send signal to someone nearby, who would send it to the next person, and then to the next person, and so on until it reaches its destination. Dubbed body-to-body networks they could be embedded within existing devices like your phone, so you wouldn’t need to carry extra equipment. It will have the advantage that if you are hanging around large crowds that normally screw up bandwidth you would actually increase the coverage in an area.
Simon Cotton, from Queen’s University’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology said that BBNs could also lead to a reduction in the number of base stations needed to service mobile phone users, particularly in areas of high population density. Cotton reckons that they could reach more than 400 million devices across the world by 2014.