This could be a communications game changer.
Imagine being able to access the internet and make cell phone calls where there is no WiFi or cell tower such as in remote search-and-rescue areas or disaster areas where cell towers have been destroyed. Imagine government control over the Internet suddenly irrelevant and government surveillance of cell phone traffic suddenly circumvented. Imagine making calls even if your phone is not in service. It’s a game changer and it’s called wireless mesh networking.
Wireless mesh networking is a new technology that’s just been incorporated into Apple’s Multipeer Connectivity Framework, a feature of their new iOS7 mobile device operating system. The Multipeer Connectivity Framework enables WiFi and Blue Tooth users to communicate with each other, independent of any communications infrastructure, in a daisy chain of unlimited length – and if one user is connected to the Internet, they all are.
With multiple users, FireChat, AirDrop or any similar app can relay messages from user to user just like the Internet relays from node to node. All it takes is multiple users in a given area and you’ve got connectivity for everyone, even In places where WiFi can’t go like hotel basements or caves. In underdeveloped countries, wireless net networks can provide free connectivity for entire villages!
FireChat can be used anonymously. It’s virtually impossible to discover who the users are. It can’t be hacked remotely. It can’t be hacked through the Internet if the Internet is not is use. This means politically repressive regimes will no longer have any way to limit or censor access to the Internet or tap into personal communications.
Apple has opened the door but others are ready to walk through it. The Framework’s developer, Open Garden, already offers wireless multipeer networking for Android and Google is looking at it in conjunction with their Android Wear as a way to create networks of wearable devices. Users will now have the ability to create limited, temporary public or private networks anywhere, anytime, even in the midst of disaster and destruction.
What will you do with your network?