Students Staff

07 February 2013

Keeping our homes up to speed with future connections

Colchester Campus

As our phones get smarter and our demands for higher-speed broadband access continue to grow, the pressures on the internet are greater than ever.

Improving connectivity between the short distance of the home and the local network hub is an area often overlooked in research to improve broadband access. However, scientists from the University of Essex are part of a consortium which has secured a €2m grant from the European Commission to look into new ways of connecting the home to the network.

The 36-month SODALES (SOftware-Defined Access using Low-Energy Subsystems) project, which involves the University and four commercial partners from Spain, Portugal, Germany and Israel, aims to develop a novel wireless access interconnection service for homes.

Professor Stuart Walker, who is leading the team at Essex, explained that the aim of the project was to bring together the advantages of wireless and fibre optic technology. “It is all about finding smarter ways of getting access to the network,” he explained.

A key factor of the project will be developing street-based wireless base stations which will be able to beam a faster signal directly into the home. Having the technology by the roadside means it can also be easier to upgrade and cheaper to install as it will not involve engineers needing access to customers’ homes.

The Essex team will be developing the wireless boxes at the University’s Access Networks Laboratory, which has all the equipment to test and develop the project in-house.

At the end of the project it is hoped there will be a fully-functional prototype which could be commercially competitive.

Note to Editors

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