Communications networks' efficiency could be upgraded with a new network coding approach co-developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Network coding is a scheme in which a router mathematically combines data packets into new, hybrid packets rather than handing them off to the next router.
The researchers determined that the best method for combining data at the router is random combination. In random network coding, a router receives a group of messages and multiplies each of them by a different, randomly chosen number, and combines the results together into a hybrid message. The router relays the hybrid on to the next router in the network, while also including information about the random numbers it used to generate the hybrid.
Random coding produces the most gains in networks with spotty connections, but with several possible routes between sender and receiver. The MIT researchers mathematically demonstrated that if the same group of messages was transmitted to several different receivers, random coding produced the most efficient possible utilization of the network's bandwidth.
From MIT News
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