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WiFi Hotspots About to Go Global?

by March 31, 2008
Oh yeah, wi-fi everywhere!

Oh yeah, wi-fi everywhere!

An interesting turn of events this week showed how some companies may change the way we think about connecting to the Internet in public places. Currently, users have to search out dedicated Wi-Fi hotspots such as those found in bookstores or coffee shops (but I repeat myself). With the new software by TapRoot Systems, Inc up to 5 users could connect to the Internet through a Wi-Fi-enabled 3G mobile phone.

According to the AP article, the software works on phones with Windows Mobile or Nokia's Symbian S60 software (more commonly found in Europe). There is already a program called WMWifirouter (around $22.50) that turns Windows phones into hotspots, and there's one called JoikuSpot (free) for Nokia phones. Right now the limiting factor is the availability of 3G/Wi-Fi phones and the carrier's reticence in allowing the technology to be used in a more widespread manner. No one wants their network traffic to be abused, but it seems fairly simple to limit the traffic on a per-user basis.

Currently AT&T's Tilt and 8525 models will work with this system as will Sprint/Nextel's Mogul phone. We look forward to the addition of more phones that allow this functionality - after all, with the prevalence of mobile phones, it would only be a matter of time until the major metropolitan areas were virtual network meshes of Internet connectivity. The next big hurdle will be "connectivity-jumping" since in a mobile-based mesh network, the access points would, by definition, be constantly moving in and out of range. While you might catch someone in a nearby office building, someone visiting an office, or catching a quick bite to eat would leave users constantly searching for new connections. This would need to be handled transparently and automatically by the software.

Wi-Fi everywhere would be awesome, but it may only happen if companies think long-term and show some vision for a completely networked United States. A national mesh network can only happen via satellite technology, heavy reworking of the infrastructure, or by using local access points which are placed everywhere you want to be. With the current saturation and installed base of cell phone users, this seems to be a valid line of reasoning, especially since full hardware upgrades occur on average every two years. So for now we'll call this a limited but highly promising potential.

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Jack Hammer posts on March 31, 2008 16:14
Clint DeBoer, post: 395230
…If every phone did it, the siphoning amount would be minimal at best - and they could block the bandwidth hogs out easily enough.
Unless your phone is the only one or one of few in range of their computer. Again, I worry about the phone battery being sucked dry.
I still like the idea though.

Jack
Clint DeBoer posts on March 31, 2008 13:00
I like the hole “mesh” concept of it. I'd love for everywhere to simply be a big “hot spot”. If every phone did it, the siphoning amount would be minimal at best - and they could block the bandwidth hogs out easily enough. Privacy is of little concern since the access could be spearated from the phone features.
Jack Hammer posts on March 31, 2008 11:54
admin, post: 395148
An interesting turn of events this week showed how some companies may change the way we think about connecting to the Internet in public places. Currently, users have to search out dedicated Wi-Fi hotspots such as those found in bookstores or coffee shops (but I repeat myself). With the new software by TapRoot Systems, Inc up to 5 users could connect to the Internet through a Wi-Fi-enabled 3G mobile phone.


Discuss “WiFi Hotspots About to Go Global?” here. Read the article.

I like the concept. I wouldn't want strangers using my phone as there access point. What would this do to the battery levels of the phones being jumped off of? What other potential issues are there for the host phone to encounter?

Jack
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