A wireless hotspot that’s supposed to boost speeds in some areas may actually make them worse, according to a new study.
The researchers from Google, Microsoft, and Verizon have teamed to test the new technology, which they say is likely to have a negative effect on people with poor Wi-FI access in cities, where there’s no direct access to the internet.
The hotspot may also slow down access to other devices in the area, said co-author David Hsieh of the University of Pennsylvania.
“That’s one of the concerns,” he said.
“It’s a very powerful tool that may actually lead to slower speeds in places where people have bad access to Wi-fi.”
Google has also partnered with Microsoft to test their new hotspot technology, known as the PowerShift, which uses the latest wireless technology to speed up data transmissions, according the researchers.
It’s not yet clear whether the wireless hotspots that Verizon and Microsoft are testing will actually improve the speed of data, or whether they will actually slow down the speeds of other Wi-Is.
“The key thing is to make sure the data is actually getting to where it needs to be, and we don’t want to overheat the system,” Hsiey said.
“The key word is ‘to where’ because if the data gets to the right place, then the speeds go up.
That’s the important thing.”
The researchers also looked at other hotspots and found that while some hotspots have an advantage, others are much slower than other hotspot devices.
“Some of the hotspots, they have a significant advantage in the speed, but it’s really hard to judge that in terms of overall performance,” Hsieh said.
Verizon and Apple have been working on the latest versions of their Wi-I and Wi-P technologies for years.
Hsieu said the two companies had been working together for a while on this.
Google has already shown off its wireless hotsps in some cities, including New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The new technology has been tested in the cities of Denver, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, and Minneapolis.
Hsieh said there are still some limitations with the current technology.
“They are not necessarily 100 per cent reliable, and they don’t always work as advertised,” he told CBC News.
“But the way it works is, it uses a very low power, very low-frequency radio frequency (RF) signal that goes over the Internet and transmits to a phone, which then translates that into the appropriate Wi-FAC (Wi-Fi acoustics) level and sends that to the hotspot.”
“This is a really good thing because it doesn’t rely on the radio frequency being very powerful.
It can operate at much lower power, and it can work in all types of weather conditions,” Hsiouh said, adding that the new wireless hotsphere technology would not need to be re-configured every time a user changes their connection.
“This is the kind of thing that can be done in any room, and this is the type of thing we’ve done for the last 20 years.”
“It has the potential to change the landscape,” said Hsieb.
“And there are a lot of reasons to believe it will change the world, so it’s a big deal.”
Hsieb and Hsiel are planning to use the powerShift technology in the United States to test out the new hotspots in cities like New York and Boston.
He says the technology could be used to boost data speeds in other cities as well.
“There’s no question that Wi-IS and WiP have enormous potential,” he added.
“It’s really the future.”
Follow @CBCHealth on Twitter for more health and science news.