When data centers are overloaded during peak times, the usual response is to rewire them for more connectivity. Some researchers, however, are looking into another possibility — adding wireless networks that can handle excess traffic. A project by Microsoft and the University of Washington tested wireless networks on servers, simulating traffic loads based on four real-life data centers and achieving what they say is a substantial improvement of performance.

The system uses a wireless network on the 60GHz band, which allows for a very fast directional network over short distances. Tiny antennas on top of the server racks direct the signal, which is turned on by a central controller when more bandwidth is needed. This kind of setup — which requires the antenna direction to be finely tuned and needs a clear line of sight to work — wouldn't be feasible for a normal access point, but the researchers say it's well-suited to a server room, where everything is already carefully controlled. There's more information at the source link below, and a complete paper on the project (PDF) was published last year at SIGCOMM, a data communication conference.