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Why Wi-Fi Stinks—and How to Fix It

Neglected channels could add Wi-Fi capacity if router makers used them properly

11 min read
abstract art depicting wifi signals
Illustration: Erik Vrielink

Ask consumers in the developed world about their household Wi-Fi connection and they'll likely tell you that lately it seems to be getting worse, not better. Some might even say, “It stinks!" Even the residents of the White House have Wi-Fi problems. In an interview with the BBC just before Super Bowl 50, First Lady Michelle Obama complained, “It can be a little sketchy. The girls are just irritated by it."

The White House, along with homes inhabited by more than 80 percent of the United States and 50 percent of the worldwide population, are in urban areas where Wi-Fi connections are steadily getting worse. The reason would appear to be obvious: There are many more people—and things—using Wi-Fi than a decade ago, and the numbers continue to grow. Today, 6.4 billion connected devices are in use around the globe. By 2020, that will mushroom to 20.8 billion—that's 2.8 mobile devices for every person on Earth. So certainly the wireless highways through which Wi-Fi traffic moves have gotten and will continue to get more crowded.

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Rory Cooper’s Wheelchair Tech Makes the World More Accessible

He has introduced customized controls and builds wheelchairs for rough terrain

6 min read
portrait of a man in a navy blue polo with greenery in the background
Abigail Albright

For more than 25 years, Rory Cooper has been developing technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Cooper began his work after a spinal cord injury in 1980 left him paralyzed from the waist down. First he modified the back brace he was required to wear. He then turned to building a better wheelchair and came up with an electric-powered version that helped its user stand up. He eventually discovered biomedical engineering and was inspired to focus his career on developing assistive technology. His inventions have helped countless wheelchair users get around with more ease and comfort.

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Intel’s Take on the Next Wave of Moore’s Law

Ann B. Kelleher explains what's new 75 years after the transistor's invention

4 min read
image of a black and gold computer chip against a black background

Intel's Ponte Vecchio processor

Intel

The next wave of Moore’s Law will rely on a developing concept called system technology co-optimization, Ann B. Kelleher, general manager of technology development at Intel told IEEE Spectrum in an interview ahead of her plenary talk at the 2022 IEEE Electron Device Meeting.

“Moore’s Law is about increasing the integration of functions,” says Kelleher. “As we look forward into the next 10 to 20 years, there’s a pipeline full of innovation” that will continue the cadence of improved products every two years. That path includes the usual continued improvements in semiconductor processes and design, but system technology co-optimization (STCO) will make the biggest difference.

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Accelerate the Future of Innovation

Download these free whitepapers to learn more about emerging technologies like 5G, 6G, and quantum computing

1 min read
Keysight
Keysight

Looking for help with technical challenges related to emerging technologies like 5G, 6G, and quantum computing?

Download these three whitepapers to help inspire and accelerate your future innovations:

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