Major carriers, arguing that their networks are clogged with smart-phone and tablet traffic, are increasingly implementing data throttling, the practice of targeting heavy users by slowing down data-transfer speeds. Now a gadget invented at Bell Labs—a programmable, pint-sized transmitter that requires no new traditional cell towers—could rapidly add capacity and thus help avoid data bottlenecks.
The gadgets are known as light radio cubes. Measuring just six centimeters on each side, they are miniature transmitters and receivers that can be programmed to work flexibly in different contexts to add capacity.
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