Prevent Neighbors from Stealing Your Bandwidth with This New Wi-Fi

System from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab enables single WiFi access point that can locate users within tens of centimeters.

We all love it totally when we hear about new WiFi routers that offer extensive range and far-reaching signals. But the likeliness of our WiFi network reaching the premises of our neighbors’ home and making way to their laptops cannot be overlooked. Because, if you haven’t secured your data then just about anyone can access your bandwidth and usually people cannot do anything about it. 

prevent-your-neighbors-from-stealing-bandwidth-with-this-new-wi-fi

But, now you have an option in the form of the currently under development new wireless system called Chronos. The system is being developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and it is expected to physically detect all the users that are currently on a network. The system will be capable of identifying users on a network within tens of centimeters radius with full accuracy. 

With this kind of technology, we will be getting a more secure environment to surf the web and allow only those users to access data whom we actually want to.  

Chronos identifies users by calculating the time duration involved in the data travel from their devices for example, from a smartphone or notebook to the access point of the router. The shorter or longer duration that is consumed by data packets to reach router’s access point will be assessed by the system according to the physical distance. Basically, it will identify your location according to its length and distance. 


The researcher did test the prototype of Chronos in a 2-bed apartment occupied by four individuals. The system recognized properly that which of the residents was using the network with 94% accuracy every time. The other test was arranged in a Café where the system showed results  with 97% accuracy. It identified the legitimate users present in the building as well as the intruders using the network without authorization.  

The system can only run on one access point and happens to be 20 times more accurate than the currently available system, which limits the users’ position. The new system, explain MIT researchers, operates via skipping between different frequencies and gathering multiple measurements of the distance between the user and the access point. It then combines together all these and generates results. 

According to Microsoft researcher Venkat Padmanabhan, “By devising a method to rapidly hop across these channels that span almost one gigahertz of bandwidth, Chronos can measure time-of-flight with sub-nanosecond accuracy, emulating with commercial Wi-Fi what has previously needed an expensive ultra-wideband radio.” 

Padmanabhan adds that this is a breakthrough that “promises to be a key enabler for applications such as high-accuracy indoor localisation.” 

The system may not prevent people from using your internet or stealing it but it can help in finding your lost devices or control objects within your home. 

One of the researchers involved in the project, Deepak Vasisht, explains:  

“From developing drones that are safer for people to be around, to tracking where family members are in your house, Chronos could open up new avenues for using Wi-Fi in robotics, home automation, and more.”

SourceMIT
Researcher PaperUsenix

Ryan De Souza

Ryan is a London-based member of the HackRead's Editorial team. A graduate of Maths and physics with a passion for geopolitics and human rights. Ryan places integrity at the pinnacle of successful journalism and believes this is somewhat lacking in traditional media. Ryan is an educator who balances his time between family, social activism and humanitarian causes and his vice is Football and cars.