Wireless networks are usually limited in terms of speed, mostly due to power limitations in small devices. Researchers from the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics (IME), however, have found a way to boost WiFi speeds up to 200 times — or up to 20 Gbps.

The technology involves a compact high-performance silicon-based cavity-backed slot (CBS) antenna, which offers signal transmission strength of 30 times a conventional CBS antenna. “By filling the antenna cavity with polymer instead of air, we can achieve a flat surface for subsequent processing by standard technology that is amenable to mass production,” said Hu Sanming, a key researcher for the project.

The new design can potentially result in smaller WiFi antennas, but without the limited range and speed that we usually experience with our devices. While WiFi usually works up to 30 feet with line of sight, signal quality and speed would usually degrade as you go farther and as you get obstacles like walls, floors, pillars and ceilings.

The new A*STAR antenna design could help improve WiFi performance if and once mobile device manufacturers — and router makers, too — will consider implementing this design. Apart from performance, devices can also benefit from a smaller antenna design, which gives leeway to device manufacturers in making smaller or thinner devices, or having extra space for other peripherals.

Aside from mobile gadgets like notebooks, smartphones and tablets, such a technology can also make its way to embedded devices or low-power devices. Perhaps the standard can be used in the future in place of RFID or NFC, but with better range and data throughput.