4G is more susceptible to unwanted interference, which means existing infrastructure cannot meet the present and future demands of mobile users
London South Bank University (LSBU) and Hughes Electronics Ltd have jointly developed a world first connector to combat interference on mobile networks.
The WaveWay connector, the world’s first pioneering connection system created to reduce signal interference experienced by millions of users of mobile devices, was researched, developed and tested in LSBU’s state-of-the-art Anechoic Chamber, by LSBU’s Biomedical and Communications (BiMEC) research group and local London firm Hughes Electronics Ltd.
Dr.Sandra Dudley-McEvoy, director of Research and Enterprise for the School of Engineering and Greg Rymar, head of research and development at Hughes Electronics Ltd uncovered a fundamental fault with the metal connectors currently used by large telecoms companies across the UK – they are particularly vulnerable to Passive Intermodulation (PIM).
PIM is essentially unwanted interference, created when two or more interacting signals pass through cables and connectors. It plays a leading role in reducing the quality and strength of wireless signals.
Key research found that:
• The metal used in existing connectors is more susceptible to PIM due to greater vulnerability to external signals and corrosion
• Current industry standard design for connectors is poor, leading to longer installation times and signal loss
• New sources of PIM found including humidity and temperature
• 4G is much more sensitive to PIM interference, meaning existing infrastructure cannot meet the present and future demands of mobile users.
This all results in weaker signal strength, slower data speeds, increased buffering and overall poor performance on mobile devices. By 2019 it is expected that 4G will cover 65 per cent of the world, and therefore the issue of PIM needs to be urgently addressed to maintain communications capacity.
Dr.Sandra Dudley-McEvoy, Director of Research and Enterprise for the School of Engineering, said: “Passive InterModulation (PIM) is a major headache in Cellular networks. Mobile phone communication that we now depend on, such as 4G and the future 5G technology, suffer more from PIM than previous technologies so it’s vital that operators take action. We can’t simply keep pumping more power.”
As the first connector exclusively designed to mitigate the sources of PIM, the WaveWay is a non-metallic design that restricts the effects of PIM, offering more signal, less interference and prevents erosion. The design too, eliminates any gaps so that signals can’t escape, thereby preventing signal loss. The connector is waterproof, easy to install and compatible with 5G technology. For users of mobile devices, WaveWay claims to deliver consistent and more robust signals, increased data availability, faster data connection, less interference and better performance.
Billy Hughes, managing director, Hughes Electronics Ltd, said, “By combining our efforts with LSBU, we have developed the WaveWay connector, a compatible solution that for the first time offers network operators a low cost remedy to their current PIM headache.
"If the technology is deployed in all connective parts it has the potential to radicalise the way data connections are made - increasing signal strength, delivering faster mobile connections and reducing installation time.
"I’m really excited to see what the future possibilities are for our new technology in reducing wireless interference currently experienced by millions of mobile phone users across the UK.”
The WaveWay is currently in tests with a top tier industry contractor in Ireland and is expected to be ready for the national market this coming October.