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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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Medal of Honor Goes to Microsensor and Systems Pioneer

The UCLA professor developed aerospace and automotive safety systems

3 min read
Photo of a man in a blue jacket in front of a brick wall.
UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

IEEE Life Fellow Asad M. Madni is the recipient of this year’s IEEE Medal of Honor. He is being recognized “for pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of innovative sensing and systems technologies, and for distinguished research leadership.”

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Video Friday: An Agile Year

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
Video Friday: An Agile Year

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):

ICRA 2022: 23–27 May 2022, Philadelphia
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, Rotterdam, Germany
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, Açores, Portugal

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos.

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National Instruments Paves the Way for Terahertz Regime in 6G Networks

Developing tools that can test new technologies for 6G networks is the key step in making it a reality

3 min read

This is a sponsored article brought to you by National Instruments (NI).

While 5G networks continue their rollout around the world, researchers and engineers are already looking ahead to a new generation of mobile networks, dubbed 6G. One of the key elements for 6G networks will be to move beyond the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum and up into the terahertz (THz) spectrum. The THz spectrum will certainly open up more bandwidth, but there are a number of technical challenges that will need to be addressed if mobile networks can ever exploit this spectrum.

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