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Piggyback Self-routing cell phones.

What if cell phones didn't need towers, what if the could form their own web of a network.
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What about a cell phone that could form it's own routed network with other cell phones?

People would have to have end to end encryption so their data could not be intercepted.

Users could set their own phone so that it would route only if it had a certain amount of battery life. They could also limit the amount of memory or CPU cycles their smartphone would commit to the routing of others calls. They could set a number of parameters depending on how much of their phones resources they wanted to commit to this web.

Could be spotty connectivity which might be bad for voice, but could be useful for text and email.

Could also be very useful in a natural disaster if several cell towers were out in an area as users could piggy back off each other...you'd only need a few users to really be in range of the cell towers, the rest of the users could be routed through the web that their phones create.

A user with a wifi connection could elect, or elect not to, advertise that they had a fast data route available.

Ya, I know, it's goofy. Don't you feel sorry for my wife? She gets to hear ALL of my ideas!

mldart, Jan 29 2011

Self routing network http://en.wikipedia...reless_mesh_network
Wireless mesh network [AntiQuark, Jan 29 2011]

Peer To Peer Mobilage Peer To Peer Mobilage
I still think it's a good idea - I don't know whether it's a case of the networks preferring to maintain a firmer control over their infrastructure and commercial model - not sure - but it would be interesting to consider how it would be possible to start one of these off from scratch. [zen_tom, Jan 29 2011]

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       Easy to implement, can even provide links to the PSTN via public wifi access.   

       All you need is to figure out a way to charge users and the cellphone providers will be delighted to hear from you ... in the meantime, they're doing their damnedest to sit on this sort of concept...
8th of 7, Jan 29 2011
  

       So what would be the range of yer standard cellphone to cellphone? and what kind of power draw would you expect.   

       Not much and quite a bit, I would imagine [-]
FlyingToaster, Jan 29 2011
  

       Very terrain-dependant, and depending on the frequency (800/900/1800/1900 MHz) subject to all sorts of flukey reflection and propagation effects.   

       In other words, it's guesswork.   

       That's for an ERP in the one-Watt range, and a reasonable antenna (not those horrible little folded strip-dipoles that Nokia seem to like, a proper 5λ/4 stub at the very least).
8th of 7, Jan 29 2011
  

       //Easy to implement//   

       Er... Not so sure about that one. Various aspects like power control, admission control, frequency usage etc., do not translate so well from cellular infrastructure (where the base station "does the math") to ad-hoc networks. On saying that, femtocells (mini base-stations) are a step towards getting this kind of thing work...   

       In any case, the idea in general is a very, very well trodden path in the research community. Note that you don't necessarily have to modify the cellular connection - many devices these days (and fictional devices in 'the amazing future' that are imagined by researchers) have a variety of wireless interfaces (3G & WiFi for example) and you can bridge between these with relative ease.   

       Still *loads* of interesting research topics though: amounts of power/bandwidth to dedicate to the transmission of stuff by on behalf of others (resource management), how to make/break the ad-hoc links (admission control & routing), what happens when your piggy-back link goes down ('handover' to the main base-station, change interface?)?, who pays for what (accounting & billing), ***SECURITY*** (identification, safe & secure anonymity?, authentication & authorisation), I could go on...
Jinbish, Jan 29 2011
  

       //all sorts of flukey reflection and propagation effects. //   

       Yeah - for those not clued up with wireless technologies, sending stuff through the air is *horrendously* challenging when compared to shoving bits down an optical fibre...
* Interference: other EM signals due to phones (or whatever) - possibly operating in the same frequency as your own
* Slow fading: when objects (buildings etc.) get in the way of your signal, making it weaker
* Fast fading: when your own signal bounces of nearby objects and causes interference (that is difficult to get rid of because it's very similar to the signal you really want).
Jinbish, Jan 29 2011
  

       This is already baked on some of the newer Nextel phones with the Direct Talk feature. (not to be confused with Direct Connect) It allows you to call and talk to other phones point to point meaning without the usage of the cell tower provided that the phones are within range of each other.
Jscotty, Jan 30 2011
  

       "a way to charge users " to be honest, that's the only good thing about telcos, they organise it and then we complain about them, not each other.   

       Perhaps there's a more fundamental point here, what would you be charging people for, and why? I'm guessing that the billing system would be the expensive part of the plan, so if you avoid that....   

       I was thinking there's a parallel which could be tried out without too much pain. Lots of wifi hubs in houses, point to point internet...probably work in most cities, then flip over to the telcos for long distance hops.
not_morrison_rm, Jan 30 2011
  

       OLPC computers are configured to do that. They organise themselves into a wireless network; then, if one computer in the network has internet access, they all do. It's a rather beautiful concept, as is the present idea, even though it's somewhat known to exist.   

       Aside: This is the sort of reason why I encourage people never to acquire mobile 'phone hardware that comes bundled with a plan; it may look like a good deal, but you are just begging to be shafted. I mean, on most handsets, you can't even use the camera without an active SIM connected to a provider! We just shouldn't accept that kind of crap. People need to say "I will buy handset X, which can run open source apps, is not locked to a provider, works without a SIM, allows peer-to-peer calls, etc. If mobile provider Y has a problem with that, then they are arseholes, and I will take my business elsewhere."
spidermother, Jan 30 2011
  
      
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