Similar approaches to improving internet speeds using the external environment have been explored, including one proposed by a team at Princeton University led by Professor Kyle Jamieson, which was for the specific situation of people using computers on either side of a wall. However, say the researchers, the goal with RFocus was to develop an even more low-cost approach that could be used in a wider range of scenarios.
Jamieson, who was not involved in the RFocus project, adds, "Smart surfaces give us literally thousands of antennas to play around with. The best way of controlling all these antennas, and navigating the massive search space that results when you imagine all the possible antenna configurations, are just two really challenging open problems."
The paper on the RFocus project will be presented next month at the USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI) in Santa Clara, California.
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