We've all had the problem of going into a crowded Starbucks and suffering through a substandard Wi-Fi signal, most likely caused by too few access points and too many end users. But what if Wi-Fi antennas could do a better job of detecting how many devices were in a given room and could push data out to them more rapidly on a one-by-one basis? That's what researchers at Gonzaga University are trying to accomplish by testing "smart antenna" technology in their new research lab that just received a federal research grant worth nearly $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation. In this interview, we ask Gonzaga electrical engineering associate professor Steve Schennum to outline the basics of smart antenna systems, to describe how they'll improve Wi-Fi performance and to describe how a smart antenna lab would help out small wireless companies.
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