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Wireless Networking Cellphones Microsoft Networking

Cool-Tether Links Phones' Bandwidth To Make High-Speed Hotspots 102

Posted by timothy
from the broadish-band dept.
Barence writes "Microsoft Research has found a novel way of beating the deplorably slow speeds of mobile broadband, by combining several phones together to make one high-speed hotspot. Dubbed Cool-Tether, the system harnesses the mobile data connection of multiple mobile handsets to build an on-the-fly Wi-Fi hotspot. 'To address the challenges of energy efficiency, Cool-Tether carefully optimises the energy drain of the WAN (GPRS/EDGE/3G) and Wi-Fi radios on smartphones,' Microsoft's research paper claims. 'We prototype Cool-Tether on smartphones and, experimentally, demonstrate savings in energy consumption between 38%-71% compared to prior energy-agnostic solutions.'"
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Cool-Tether Links Phones' Bandwidth To Make High-Speed Hotspots

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  • Re:like BitTorrent (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @09:33AM (#30282866)

    Specifically, the issue is that HSDPA only gives about 3Mbps per tower, and no mesh wi-fi network will get around that because each phone will be using the same over-subscribed tower.

  • AKA JoikuBoost (Score:3, Informative)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @09:47AM (#30283074)

    Way to innovate MS! JoikuBoost [joiku.com]: "JoikuBoost joins multiple 3G connections from mobile phones and operator networks into one larger unified and shared bit pipe, accessible over WiFi from e.g. laptops."
    Who wants to bet they'll get the patent anyway ?

  • Re:like BitTorrent (Score:3, Informative)

    by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @10:11AM (#30283452) Journal
    Mobile phone mesh networks actually aren't a new idea [slashdot.org], although this seems to include a slightly new wrinkle. The benefit is not just aggregating the phone-to-network links for higher bandwidth, but lower energy consumption by making optimal use of the amount of data delivered while the phone is in an high-powered state. Microsoft's approach differs from yours and the link above in that this does not appear to be designed to allow you to go off-network onto a parallel, ad-hoc peer-to-peer mobile version of the internet. It's basically designed to trunk 3G phone-to-network connections together.
  • by jipn4 (1367823) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @10:20AM (#30283534)

    You get this kind of thing out of the box on Linux: just plug in multiple phones and configure multiple internet connections; you get load balancing, on-demand dialing, and all that for free. Linux got this support years ago for dial-up modems, but mobiles phones look like dial-up modems to Linux anyway. It's not usually done with cell phones because it's expensive (that's why there's no simple UI for configuring it), but it's well documented and pretty easy to set up.

    (Of course, with Windows and WinMo, it may actually be rocket science.)

  • Re:like BitTorrent (Score:3, Informative)

    by Aqualung812 (959532) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @10:57AM (#30284056)

    Specifically, the issue is that HSDPA only gives about 3Mbps per tower

    I'm pretty sure you mean per channel. Multiple devices can use different frequencies from the same tower.

  • by merreborn (853723) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @12:12PM (#30285090) Journal

    It's not the bandwidth. It's the latency.

    Ping on a cell connection runs around 200 ms, in my experience. *That's* the part that makes tethering suck -- with pages requiring dozens of images and javascript files these days, waiting for a 200ms round trip for each request adds up FAST.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson

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