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Data Mining Solves the Mystery of Your Slow Wi-Fi Connection

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A notable detective, investigating.

Rsearchers have determined how slow or failed Wi-Fi connectivity happens, and how to avoid it.


Slow or failed connectivity is a common problem for Wi-Fi users, and Changhau Pei and colleagues at Tsinghua University in China have discovered why this happens and how to avoid it by measuring the time it took for 400 million different Wi-Fi sessions to connect.

The researchers compiled data from the Wi-Fi Manager app for Android, and calculated a 45% rate of connection failure, while 15% of connections take longer than five seconds.

Using a data-mining algorithm, the team determined factors underlying failed links and long connection times.

The most significant factor is a network's status as public or private, as private networks are faster and have higher rates of connection success.

The mobile device's operating system is another significant factor, with the researchers citing a highly customized version of Android known as FlyMe as one culprit.

They also note the chipsets in both the mobile device and the access point can affect connection times, with slower chips taking longer.

The test results led to the creation of an algorithm that avoids the most obvious compromises to accelerate connection times; for example, by selecting access points only on private networks. The researchers say the algorithm slashes connectivity failures rates to 3.6% and accelerates connection times 10-fold.

From Technology Review
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