World’s first anti-interference system for mobile devices

3rd August 2016
Nat Bowers

London South Bank University (LSBU) and Hughes Electronics have developed a world first connector to combat interference on mobile networks. The ‘WaveWay’ connector has been researched, developed and tested in LSBU’s state-of-the-art Anechoic Chamber, by LSBU’s BioMEdical and Communications (BiMEC) research group and local firm Hughes Electronics.

Ground-breaking new research, coordinated by Dr. Sandra Dudley-McEvoy, Director of Research and Enterprise, School of Engineering and Greg Rymar, Head of Research and Development, Hughes Electronics, has uncovered a fundamental fault with the metal connectors currently used by large telecomms companies across the UK - they are particularly vulnerable to Passive InterModulation (PIM).

PIM is essentially ‘unwanted interference’, created when two or more interacting signals pass through cables and connectors. It plays a leading role in reducing the quality and strength of wireless signals.

Key research findings include:

  • The metal used in existing connectors is more susceptible to PIM due to greater vulnerability to external signals and corrosion;
  • Current industry standard design for connectors is poor, leading to longer installation times and signal loss;
  • New sources of PIM found including humidity and temperature; and
  • 4G is much more sensitive to PIM interference, meaning existing infrastructure cannot meet the present and future demands of mobile users.

This all results in weaker signal strength, slower data speeds, increased buffering and overall poor performance on mobile devices. For users who are watching movies online, checking their emails and Skype calling whilst on the go, this creates a significant inconvenience.

With 65% of the world expected to be covered by 4G in 2019, the issue of PIM needs to be urgently addressed to maintain our communications capacity.

Dr. Sandra Dudley-McEvoy commented: “PIM is a major headache in cellular networks. Mobile phone communication that we now depend on, such as 4G and the future 5G technology, suffer more from PIM than previous technologies so it’s vital that operators take action. We can’t simply keep pumping more power.”

As the first connector exclusively designed to mitigate the sources of PIM, the WaveWay is the next-gen solution to such problems.

Benefits of the WaveWay include:

  • New non-metal design, will severely restrict the effects of PIM – providing more signal, less interference and preventing corrosion (a source of PIM);
  • Innovative design eliminates ‘gaps’ for signal escape, preventing signal loss;
  • Waterproof and easier to install; and
  • Future proof - compatible with 5G technology, paving the way for improved connection and coverage for millions of users of wireless technologies.

For users of mobile devices, WaveWay technology can deliver consistent and stronger signals, more data availability, faster data connection, less interference and better performance.

“By combining our efforts with LSBU, we have developed the WaveWay connector, a compatible solution that for the first time offers network operators a low cost remedy to their current PIM headache. If the technology is deployed in all connective parts it has the potential to radicalise the way data connections are made - increasing signal strength, delivering faster mobile connections and reducing installation time. I’m really excited to see what the future possibilities are for our new technology in reducing wireless interference currently experienced by millions of mobile phone users across the UK,” said Billy Hughes, Managing Director, Hughes Electronics.

Gurpreet Jagpal, Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation (REI), LSBU, added: “Through this pioneering initiative, we have shown how universities, such as LSBU, can collaborate with businesses to successfully provide unique access to facilities and expert knowledge to create innovative technology which solves real-world problems.”

The WaveWay is currently being tested with a top tier industry contractor in Ireland during July and August. It is expected to be ready for the national market in October 2016.

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