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Wireless Token Network

Monday, 20 September 2010

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Researchers at the Centre for Communications Engineering Research (CCER) have developed a firmware application to solve a rapidly expanding problem of time-sensitive services over wireless local area networks (WLANs) as the number of users using wireless voice over IP (VoIP) increases. Providing quality of service (QoS) for time-sensitive services is a problem that the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) has attempted to solve by introducing the 802.11e wireless protocol, which identifies those data packets that are time-sensitive (such as voice and video streaming) by giving them transmission priority. While 802.11e provides a mechanism for prioritisation, it does not solve the inherent inefficiencies of the original 802.11 protocol. This lowers the number of users which can be serviced while guaranteeing QoS.

The new firmware solution, referred to as wireless token network (WTN), is designed as an improved technology over the current 802.11e wireless network standard. It is positioned to compete with the standard as the technology ensures that each of the data connections have an equal chance of access, while ensuring that time-sensitive applications are given the access that they require. As a result of this, the technology is applicable for use with:

  • voice over WLAN phones by ensuring that the signal is not limiting the access to the access point (AP) for other network users.
  • computer terminals that have wireless connections to the network, especially where they wish to use time-sensitive applications such as voice and video over IP (e.g., Skype).

WTN technology supports higher number of VoIP clients compared to other existing technologies due to its higher channel efficiency. WTN offers almost double the downstream throughput compared to other protocols, which makes WTN an excellent solution to address the problem of QoS in bidirectional streams. The overall throughput of WTN is about 50% higher than other protocols. For applications like VoIP that require bi-directional traffic, the improvement achieved by WTN is around 100%. For VoIP only traffic, WTN is able to support more than twice the number of clients at acceptable quality levels before reaching 100% saturation, as compared to IEEE 802.11 DCF, IEEE 802.11e EDCA and SpectraLink SVP.

A provisional US patent has been filed. ECU is offering the opportunity to either invest in further development of the work or an in-house licensing opportunity for interested companies to develop and exploit the technology. WTN  was a finalist in the innovation category at the 18th WAITTA (Western Australian Information Technology and Telecommunications Awards) 2008-2009.

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