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Flexible Convergence of Wireless Standards and Services

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Reliable wireless communications

A new approach to data transmission over wireless networks developed at the University of York shows promise with respect to reducing transmission times.

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The use of wireless communications is on the rise. It is often more practical and less expensive than hard-wired solutions, but is not as reliable. The situation is further complicated by an increasing number of wireless standards. The FLOWS project, which received funding from the Information Society Technologies Programme, aimed to encourage convergence in the wireless domain. Promoting interoperability of standards and services has multiple benefits. Communications specialists with the University of York participating in FLOWS examined the issue of data loss during transmission. The key to their approach was to duplicate data transmission over two separate channels. They set up a test bench to evaluate the effectiveness of their concept, employing two different Automatic Repeat-Query (ARQ) protocols: stop-and-wait and go-back-N. Statistical analysis of the test results revealed that the two-channel solution can significantly reduce packet loss and thus transmission time, especially when the threat of channel fade is high. Furthermore, the York engineers determined that the benefit is enhanced with the go-back-N ARQ protocol versus stop-and-wait due to reduced packet delays. These developments will help shape the future of wireless communications.

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