More juice for cell phones?

New proposals being developed by a Melbourne research center could extend the life of batteries in mobile wireless devices and provide carriers with the capacity to deliver higher bit-rates to new handsets.

New proposals being developed by a Melbourne, Australia research center could extend the life of batteries in mobile wireless devices and provide carriers with the capacity to deliver higher bit-rates to new handsets.

The latter proposal could provide some impetus to the stalled promise of third-generation (3G) networks, although researcher John Papandriopoulos says the new concepts have wider applications.

"3G is old-hat if you're in research. Industry follows us in a five to ten-year lag, so what we're doing here will give the industry an insight into what will happen in the future," he said.

"There's a lot of unexplored territory in 3G, but it's just a standard and an access method...our stuff relates to wireless networks as a whole," he added.

The improvement in battery life could be achieved by using smarter power control algorithms. The new techniques may also allow carriers to allocate different bit-rates to different users "on the fly".

Voice calls, for example, don’t require as high a bit-rate as mobile Internet connections or video conferencing. Papandriopoulos’ research allows carriers to divide users into different groups and assign bandwidth to them dynamically as their needs change.

"We've developed an algorithm that enables carriers to meet everyone's quality of service requirements," he said.

Papandriopoulos won the prize for the top graduating student across all faculties at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2001 before accepting a PhD position at the Center for Ultra-Broadband Information Networks (CUBIN). He currently receives state and federal government scholarships.

CUBIN was established at the Melbourne University in Dec. 2000 and focuses its research on super networks--technology that's still on the drawing board. The center receives substantial funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

ZDNet Australia's Patrick Gray reported from Sydney.