While it may be a nice change of pace for a dedicated worker to move their mobile office to a coffee shop or other public location the one drawback can be the lack of quick response in a Wi-Fi system. It is well known that trying to use a crowded Wi-Fi in a public location can be frustrating at best. Newly developed software promises to make the difference for public Wi-Fi networks and raise the performance level when at full capacity to 700%.

The WiFox software was coded and tested by a North Carolina State University team on a network that was capable of taking on 45 users. Improvements ranged from 400% with 25 users to an even higher level of 700% when there were maximum users. The average response time decreased by 30% to 40% on the network when WiFox was used. The software optimizes how data is moved through the system and makes the process more efficient. It can be used without any modification to the network system and therefore will be attractive to potential users such as coffee shops, schools, public accesses and airports.

Arpit Gupta, a PhD student with the WiFox research team at NC State said, “One of the nice things about this mechanism is that it can be packaged as a software update that can be incorporated into existing Wi-Fi networks.

“WiFox can be incorporated without overhauling a system.”

Gupta and fellow code writer and student Jeongki Min and code writer and computer science professor Injong Rhee will present their research at the ACM CoNext 2012 Conference next month in Nice, France. The research paper is entitled “WiFox: Scaling WiFi Performance for Large Audience Environments”.

Because the software can enhance a Wi-Fi network without overhauling the hardware already installed it can help bring a better experience to users. The cost of supplying an efficient network capable of handling many users without performance reduction will be an attractive possibility to those that want to offer an affordable and useable Wi-Fi network.

The use of mobile devices such as smartphones, netbooks, laptops, and pads are increasing the need for mobile hotspots. It is now expected that a user of such a device will find free Wi-Fi offered at public locations such as train stations and airports, as well as restaurants, hotels, coffee shops and retailers. The ability to handle a great deal of users meant that hardware could be expensive to offer the experience that would be expected by clientele. Better Wi-Fi networks could result in higher numbers of customers or visitors. The software developed by the three coders could be a solution that will make the opportunity to offer a hotspot to clients or customers more attractive.

The use of mobile devices over stationary ones such as desktop computers is expected to be the norm in only a few years. As demand for specialized features and options on the devices grow and capability increases with more adequate hotspots in public locations consumers will become more reliant on their mobile devices. Such dependency should warrant careful consideration of the purchased product, integration of devices owned with one another, safeguarding data through options offered for the devices, and sufficient insurance for the devices against theft, loss, or damage. Experts predict that mobile users are quickly outpacing PC users and demand will continue to grow as new generations take to mobile device use, especially smartphones, and bypass ever owning or using a regular PC.
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