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Extending battery life is a constant challenge for all IoT applications. Researchers have now built a new component that will more efficiently allow access to up to 5G frequencies, thus extending the battery life of the device and speeding up the speed at which we can process content such as high-definition streaming media.
How does it work?
Smartphones are equipped with switches for multitasking. One of the important tasks is switching between network and spectrum frequencies: 4G, Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth, and so on. The current radio frequency (RF) switch that performs this task is always running, which consumes valuable processing power and battery life.
A team from the University of Texas at Austin and Lille University in France has found a solution. "The switch we developed is more than 50 times more energy efficient than the switches used today," said Dejiakinwande, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering, who led the research. "It can transmit HDTV streams at 100GHz, which is unheard of in broadband switching technology."
The new switch remains off, saving battery life for other processes unless the other steps are actively helping the device jump between networks. They also demonstrated the ability to transmit data at baseline speeds higher than 5G.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been pushing the development of "near-zero power" RF switches for years. Previous researchers have found success at the lower end of the 5G spectrum, where speeds are slower but data can travel longer distances.
It is the first switch to work on the spectrum from low-end gigahertz (GHz) to higher-end terahertz (THz), and could one day be key to the development of 6G.
The technology's impact extends beyond smartphones. Satellite systems, smart radios, reconfigurable communications, the "Internet of Things" and defense technologies are all examples of other potential uses of these switches.
The findings have been published in the journal Nature Electronics.