South Korea develops super-fast Wi-Fi

A state-run Korean institute has developed super-fast Wi-Fi network technology.

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) announced Tuesday it successfully tested the technology called “mobile hotspot network (MHN).”

In a demonstration in Seoul, the new platform transmitted data at a maximum speed of 1.25 gigabits per second (Gbps), which is 30 times quicker than the current norm.

ETRI said MHN allows up to 550 users in a subway train to stream video at the same time. Previously, the maximum was just about 20.

ETRI pointed out the existing public Wi-Fi networks provided inside subway trains are slow and unstable, and thus are not enough to support video-streaming services.

The institute stressed that this new technology will have more value in line with the Moon Jae-in administration’s drive to offer more free Wi-Fi access to the public throughout the country.

“The MHN technology will provide users with ultra-fast internet services even inside running subway trains and on high-speed railways just like they have in homes and offices,” senior ETRI researcher Chung Hyun-kyu said.

In an actual field test inside a subway train, the MHN-based network enabled a speed 30 times faster than on existing networks.

Expectations are that the faster public Wi-Fi access points will facilitate the introduction of new media services based on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality.

“As more free Wi-Fi network access points are open to the public, more people will consume mobile data on Wi-Fi networks. But the previous types of wireless networks have technological limits,” an ETRI official said.

“Besides video streaming, new services that require high-speed data communication will arrive soon, urging the need for faster wireless networks.”

ETRI said the International Telecommunication Union submitted its MHN technology as a candidate for 5G network technologies late last month. This means it could become a global standard.

The institute also said it is pushing to develop an even faster MHN technology, called “MHN enhanced.” Theoretically, this technology can further improve transmission speed by around eight times.

ETRI plans to demonstrate the advanced technology during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics early next year.

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