Researchers at the swanky US university of Stanford have worked out a way of improving wi-fi reception.
One of the problems of wi-fi is that it can be buggered up when you have many people packed into a flat or office building.
However, researchers at Stanford claim to have found a way to turn crowding into an advantage.
Using a dorm on the Stanford campus, they built a single, dense wi-fi infrastructure that each resident can use and manage like their own private network.
Dubbed BeHop, the system can be centrally managed for maximum performance and efficiency while users still assign their own SSIDs (service set identifiers), passwords and other settings.
Yiannis Yiakoumis, a Stanford doctoral student who presented a paper at the Open Networking Summit this week said that the whole thing can be managed with cheap consumer-grade access points and software-defined networking.
Each household installs its own wi-fi network with a wired broadband link out to the Internet. Each of those networks may be powerful enough to give good performance under optimal circumstances within the owner's unit, but it may suffer from interference with all the other privately run networks next door.
Yiakoumis and his mates built a shared network of access point using home units provided by NetGear. They modified the firmware of those APs, and using SDN, they virtualised the private aspects of the network.
Residents named and secured their own virtual networks as if they had bought and plugged in a router in their own rooms.