In an earlier report, TheOpenSourcery advised readers that a major revolution in WiFi services was arriving with new 802.11ac and then 802.11ad wireless standards reaching ratification. The key to this order of magnitude improvementsover the next 2-5 years is that underlying WiFi providers already prepared to deliver major improvements in routers and delivery while client OS and devices are also adating the standards. Now with advances in metamaterials, there will likely be major improvements
Metamaterials combine materials structured in micro-patterns to produce unique optical and other properties
Wikipedia has a good article on Metamaterials with a succinct overview:
Metamaterials are artificial materials engineered to have properties that may not be found in nature. They are assemblies of multiple individual elements fashioned from conventional microscopic materials such as metals or plastics, but the materials are usually arranged in periodic patterns. Metamaterials gain their properties not from their composition, but from their exactingly-designed structures. Their precise shape, geometry, size, orientation and arrangement can affect the waves of light or sound in an unconventional manner, creating material properties which are unachievable with conventional materials. These metamaterials achieve desired effects by incorporating structural elements of sub-wavelength sizes, i.e. features that are actually smaller than the wavelength of the waves they affect
Metamaterials made their first claim to fame as potential cloaking surfaces for military aircraft and drones. But now the NYTimes is reporting that metamaterials are finding new applications in a variety of electromagnetic reception and transformation tasks – everything from superior antenna reception to improved image compression versus JPEG and other technologies.
Of interest, in networking anf telecommunications are the plans of Kymeta to produce specialized antenna surface for airplanes, boats that allow for better and cheaper reception of Internet signals. But the application to stationary routers also would help to supply the new 5G Gigabit WiFi services to emergency and rural settings.
In sum, it looks like telecommunications has a new and important delivery opportunity with metamaterials. Kymeta, found by ex-Microsofty Nathan Myhrvold, has finacial backing from ex-boss Bill Gates and ambitious plans to Portable Satellite Hotspots, mTenna Core Modules, and Aeronautical Terminal Products over the next two years. The conclusion is that expanded WiFi capacity will have some interesting and emerging carrier technologies as well.