Thursday, October 16, 2014

Walk-ins welcome (please bring cash or check).

Muriel Médard ’89, ’91, SM ’91, SCD ’95

Most of today’s wireless Internet traffic is still delivered using the 1970’s-designed internet protocol (IP), which chops up the data into a series of small chunks called “packets”. Unfortunately, wireless network traffic has grown even faster than traffic on the local expressways. On a typical day in Boston, 3 percent of packets are dropped due to interference or congestion.* Dropped packets cause delays and then generate new network traffic to replace those packets, further clogging the network. If you’ve ever spent several minutes trying to watch a one minute YouTube video on your phone, you’ve experienced this problem first hand.

This talk presents a technology called random linear network coding (RLNC) which has the potential to improve wireless bandwidth by an order of magnitude, without adding base stations or spectrum. The technology transforms the way data is sent. Instead of sending packets, it sends algebraic equations that describe series of packets. So if a packet goes missing, instead of asking the network to resend it, the receiving device can solve for the missing one itself. Since the equations involved are simple, the processing load on a phone, router, or base station is negligible. Already licensed by several companies, RLNC not only eliminates this wasteful process of resending dropped packets but also can seamlessly weave data streams from Wi-Fi and LTE—a leap forward from other approaches that toggle back and forth.

*From the article “A Bandwidth Breakthrough” in Technology Review, October 27, 2012

When:  Thursday,  October 16, 2014

Where:  The Broad Institute, 415 Main Street, Cambridge, MA

Agenda:         6:00 pm, Registration
6:30 pm, Presentation
7:45 pm, Reception (includes select beer & wine) & Discussion
9:00 pm, End of program

Cost:               $35 for members of the MIT Club of Boston
$35 for guests of members
$15 for MIT student members (contact Lina or Helen for discount code)
$35 for parents of MIT students, MIT Club of NH or RI or AMITA members (contact Lina or Helen for discount code)
$50 for all others

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