Passive Wi-Fi Equals Active Future for the TecHome

Passive Wi-Fi Equals Active Future for the TecHome

The term “passive” often comes with negative connotations, but a new invention from a team at the University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering is aiming to change this perception. The innovation could mean big things for the future of Internet of Things (IoT).

Recently given the honor of “Ten Breakthrough Technologies of 2016” by MIT’s Technology Review, passive Wi-Fi involves mini devices, similar to routers, which receive and retransmit the signals created from traditional Wi-Fi routers.

Sound confusing? For production builders who aren’t part of a groundbreaking engineering team, this might definitely be the case. But the benefits and money-saving qualities of this technology will certainly grab your attention.

For starters, these devices require less power than standard Wi-Fi routers.

RELATED: A Bright Idea; Using Light to Connect

Power Divided by 10,000

More specifically, passive Wi-Fi uses 10,000 times less power than the router devices commonly found in the TecHome of today. Even more impressive is the fact that these devices require such a minimal amount of energy that they have taken advantage of a technique called “backscattering.”

Backscattering refers to a method in which devices gain power from the signals they’re already receiving and retransmitting.

Think of it as renewable energy for Wi-Fi, and the savings and implementations are exciting in their potential to efficiently power IoT in TecHomes.

Mirror, Mirror

An example of a passive Wi-Fi "beacon."
An example of a passive Wi-Fi “beacon.”

If one were to think of these mini-devices, called “beacons,” as intricately-placed mirrors, and the main Wi-Fi router as a flashlight, the effect of these signals is similar to what would happen if you were to shine a light at one of these mirrors. The flashlight would reflect and bounce from mirror to mirror, creating more light (or in the case of this analogy, Wi-Fi signals) with each subsequent reproduction.

Quite simply, the original source of power is the main directory of energy, but the beacons amplify this time and time again without using access energy. So, builders using these devices can offer stronger signals in their home without the costs that would often come along with it.

Marketing More IoT Devices

Currently, passive Wi-Fi is developing and making its way to the forefront of the industry and will soon be commercially available through a company called Jeeva Wireless.

As it continues its rise, production builders need to keep their eye on its escalation, because the energy and cost savings created through passive Wi-Fi will allow those in the HiVol market to include more IoT devices in their TecHome packages.

Since they won’t require as much energy using passive Wi-Fi, clients will embrace these devices with ease because the energy/Internet costs won’t increase with each additional technology.

It’s a trend that demands attention. The savings for the client means better business for the builder. 

About The Author

Greg Vellante is a staff writer and multimedia specialist at TecHome Builder, as well as a content coordinator for AE Ventures events. He has over a decade of experience writing for various publications on topics that range from cinema to editorials to home technology. His favorite technologies fall into the A/V and home entertainment realm, and he’s keeping a close eye on the rising trends in robotics and virtual/augmented reality. Greg resides in Boston, holds a degree in Media Studies from Emerson College and pursues screenwriting/filmmaking in his free time.

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