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World’s first anti-interference system for mobile devices developed at LSBU

London South Bank University and Hughes Electronics Ltd have developed the world's first connector to combat mobile network interference
02 August 2016

London South Bank University (LSBU) has partnered with Hughes Electronics Ltd to develop the world's first connector that has the potential to reduce mobile phone interference for millions of mobile phone users across the UK.

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 neighbour Hughes Electronics Ltd, based in Southwark.

The research partnership which began in 2013 has uncovered new findings linked to the metal connectors currently used by large telecoms 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 findings of the research:

  • Existing metal connectors are 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
  • 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, Dr Sandra Dudley-McEvoy LSBU’s Director of Research and Enterprise for the School of Engineering echoed the urgent need to address the effects of PIM:

“Passive InterModulation (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.”

The WaveWay® is the next generation 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
  • 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.

Billy Hughes, Managing Director, Hughes Electronics Ltd, said:

“It was vital that we tested the connector in an environment free from other interferences so that we could get clean results – LSBU’s Anechoic Chamber provided the perfect location for us to do this. In combining our efforts with LSBU we have developed a legacy compatible solution that for the first time offers network operators a low cost remedy to their current PIM headache. If the technology is deployed through 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.”

Gurpreet Jagpal, LSBU’s Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation (REI), said:

“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.

Find out more about LSBU’s research projects.