Cellular operators in U.S. have been testing technology which could boost the download speeds on mobiles by borrowing bandwidth from nearby devices. This could help in situations where the mobile data connections are slow and unreliable.
Chinese giant 21Vianet is an Internet company that is going to launch a mobile phone network next year in Hong Kong. It will use the latest trick for offering speedy data downloads. A mobile using data network when receives poor signals, it can then borrow from any nearby device having a reliable and stronger signal. This technology is called mesh networking and it may be adopted in other countries like United States too.
By sharing the bandwidth could increase by around 50 percent and more, as explained by Austin, Texas startup called M87. This company is behind this technology. M87 has revealed that two mobile carriers in the U.S that want to better their data coverage, have also been checking out this technology. In outdoor places like for example under the shadow of a high rise building or in the basement.
Effect on Battery Life:
The drawback of this bandwidth sharing is that the device which donates the connectivity uses more battery. The CEO of M87, David Hampton is of the opinion that the drawback is small or negligent. He explained that a feature can be added through which only those devices could be eligible for sharing connection, which have a battery life greater than 60 % remaining.
For example, at the back area of a club or bar could now improve its download speed by linking up to the mobile of a person nearby a window, having a better coverage for signals from nearest tower. Devices would be able to link inside building over a distance of 30 – 50 feet. Outdoors this distance would increase to 180 feet.
Pre-Configured Software by Data Provider:
This technology by M87 requires that the mobile carrier should give out handsets with pre-configured software to be used on the network. This software would run in background and monitor the data signal of that device and search for nearby phones or devices with similar software.
Future of Connection Sharing:
Data Carriers could decide which options and rules to follow for a device to link up. Recommended settings by M87 would help save battery life and will require only 10 percent usage. It is also recommended that option to turn off this feature should be available too. Currently this software is available only for use on android devices. Scientists and critics appreciate the feasibility and practicality of the technology but also explain that it will face many challenges. Security being the prime concern, encryption could be used.