On Wired: The Future of Wi-Fi

According to Wired, the future of wi-fi could be 10,000 times more energy efficient than it is today. A group of electrical engineering students at the University of Washington are researching ways to make using Wi-Fi more energy efficient, thereby limiting the amount of battery drain for your devices. These students have invented a new type of hardware called Passive Wi-Fi, which only uses 10-50 microwatts of power, 10,000 types less than today's standard low power Wi-Fi transmissions, which use 100s of milliwatts. Passive Wi-Fi uses one device to produce an analog radio frequency, rather than having each device using a frequency to receive and transmit a signal. Passive Wi-Fi requires almost no power because the internet connection is relayed to your device using passive sensors, a baseband chip and antenna, and "mirror" readable Wi-Fi packets to any device with a Wi-Fi chipset. Energy efficient smart devices aren't only more useful - no more carrying around chargers and blinking "10%" notifications - but they also help create a greener world. It's hard to say exactly how much this more energy-efficient Wi-Fi would increase devices' battery life, but tech experts do know that communication via Wi-Fi does drain a large part of smart home devices' power budget. Creating Wi-Fi signals through mirroring and reflection takes so much less energy that, according to electrical engineering graduate student Bryce Kellogg, who co-developed Passive Wi-Fi, “...using Passive Wi-Fi would improve battery life by about as much as turning your Wi-Fi off would."