It may sound like a cliche’ but our appetite for higher and higher data rates will never be satisfied. Therefore, there is a continuing need to research and develop new technologies that yield bigger and fatter data pipes. Our project on 60 GHz has as its primary goal the task of architecting wireless LANs that can deliver better than gbps data rates per user. A parallel project on software defined access points, explores the idea of application-specific protocols that make the client side very light and very energy-efficient.
Pushing the Internet to higher data rates is very expensive — the energy needs of high-speed routers and switches increase at least quadratically (typically, exponentially) with the resultant increase in heat dissipation. This tends to limit the speed of the devices in addition to adding to the overall energy cost. We are researching new switch architectures that can run at very high speeds but without the energy penalty. This new generation of switch architectures breaks from traditional designs and scales energy needs linearly with throughput.