Phones to borrow Bandwidth from nearby Gizmos: Device-to-Device Networking


By the beginning of 2015, 21Vianet, China’s largest internet provider, is looking forward to launch a cellular phone network that aims to offer downloads at relatively faster rate.

Mesh networking

The company would be implementing mesh networking, which would make a cellular phone borrow bandwidth from a nearby phone. In the presence of weak data signal, a phone will automatically connect to a stronger signal by linking with a nearby phone that has fairly higher signal. The inter-cellular connection will take place over Wi-Fi.

After gaining substantial ground in China, other nations like the US too would soon be seeing executing the technology.

Device-to-device networking

As per M87, Texas based startup, device-to-device networking has a potential of offering a huge boost, of more than 50 percent, to the download speed. This technology would especially work well in conditions where signals of cellular devices are weakened due to obstruction of skyscrapers or using phone indoors.

At the beginning of 2014, M87 has already raised an investment of $3 million, which includes Hong Kong partner 21Vianet and Qualcomm Incorporated, an American global semiconductor company.

Sharing of bandwidth consumes battery life

Although the technology, involving wireless mesh networks, looks promising but there is a slight kink in it. Device that is offering its connectivity has to pay in terms of its battery life as well. As per the process, a cellular phone would only be able to share its connection if its battery life is above 60 percent. Here is a video of M87 software’s network speed test.

When indoors, a device can pull up to 30 to 50 feet for link coverage while outside the distance parameter escalates up to 180 feet, claimed M87 CEO David Hampton.

M87’s technology works in the presence of its pre-install software within handsets, which means, mobile carrier would need to synchronize the software within its network. Like any other system app, the software would run in the background for consistently tracking the gizmo’s signal as well as searching for proximal cellular gadget embedded with the similar software.

As some of us might comprehend, the software won’t act as a leech but the app would account for only 10 percent or less of their battery while helping others, unless, of course they change the software’s default setting. There is also an option of opting out of their device’s participation. As of now, the software is only available for Android based devices. The developers might spread their tentacles if they find the software is gaining ground by consuming enough market pie, which I think, won’t come that easy. After all, majority won’t like the idea of spending their cellular device’s battery life and bandwidth to rely others’ traffic. I am not too sure but this entire scenario might also give rise to problems like bad reception and dropped calls.  Guess we need to work on the consequent technology simultaneously so that mesh networks can stay for a longer time.

Source: MIT Technology Review

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