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Microsoft Wireless Networking

Researchers Test WiFi Access From Moving Vehicles 155

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the catch-me-if-you-can dept.
Julie188 writes "Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Massachusetts have been working on a technology that would let mobile phones and other 3G devices automatically switch to public WiFi even while the device is traveling in a vehicle. The technology is dubbed Wiffler and earlier this year its creators took it for a test drive with some interesting results. Although the researchers determined that a reliable public WiFi hotspot would be available to their test vehicles only 11% of the time, the Wiffler protocol was able to offload almost 50% of the data from 3G to WiFi."
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Researchers Test WiFi Access From Moving Vehicles

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  • call it what it is (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thud457 (234763) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:14AM (#33882262) Homepage Journal
    I prefer the OSS term for this technology, "autoleech".
  • by TrisexualPuppy (976893) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:16AM (#33882280)
    The multipath and doppler effects SUCK. This is why Wimax doesn't work well in vehicles and why the Mobile Wimax variant is more popular in such realms.

    But once you have the physical layer taken care of, you can play cool little tricks like data queuing for WAPs to save cost. Locational awareness is also feasible to anticipate whether there will be a hotspot in a quarter of a mile or to go ahead with the transfer now.
    • Cohda (Score:3, Informative)

      by femto (459605)
      You need this [cohdawireless.com], a box which eliminates doppler and multipath from 802.11 channels.
  • not gonna work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alex_guy_CA (748887) <[alex] [at] [schoenfeldt.com]> on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:18AM (#33882298) Homepage
    I had my phone setup to auto connect to wifi, but there is a lot of wifi out there that looks open and free to my phone, only it takes you to a page where you have to log in. Peets coffe, most hotels.

    When I hit one of these, it sort of grinds everything to a halt, as the phone thinks it has a wi-fi connection but does not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There really needs to be a standard way for an access point to say "I have no wireless authentication, but I am not open" when advertising itself, to allow devices to respond appropriately.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Traditionally, the way you did that was type in a very weak password. Like 1234, but really, if you haven't got any wireless authentication, you're open, whether you like it or not. The difference between open and closed is whether or not the public has access.

        This is a bit like posting a sign that says "please no trespassing, we're not going to call the cops, but we don't want to have to see you trespassing."
        • by Sockatume (732728)

          Not if the router's set up in such a way that you have to log in/purchase time on a web form before it'll actually let your IP address talk to the internet as a whole, which is the problem in question.

    • Re:not gonna work (Score:4, Interesting)

      by choongiri (840652) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:41AM (#33882526) Homepage Journal
      Right, so you make the technology smart. It connects to the unsecured wireless network, attempts to make outgoing connections, and if the outgoing connection fails (or is redirected to a login page), switches to another network. You could quite easily test the connection in the background before attempting to pass application data to it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The problem with that approach is that it takes a long time, so it isn't suitable for mobile applications (not even if you're just walking). First you have to scan the available frequencies for beacon frames, then you have to send a frame to associate, then you have to receive an acknowledgment, then you have to send a DHCP broadcast, then the DHCP server has to give you an IP address, then you have to send a ping (echo request) to a host on the internet, then you have to get an echo reply back and only the

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by choongiri (840652)
          This whole tech, though, is designed for applications where slight delays in sending the data don't matter. It's about offloading 3G usage onto wifi where possible. Every step you mentioned has to happen anyway, and a ping takes what, an extra 50ms? Could it be done more efficiently if you were building up a system from scratch? Sure, but this is about offloading data use onto existing networks.
  • Define "Public" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:18AM (#33882306)
    There's been a fair number of stories recently of people getting in trouble for "stealing" bandwidth from unsecured wireless routers, and not just when using it for illegal purposes. I don't agree with this. I think it should be the owners responsibility to secure their network, but the possibility for legal ramifications exists.
    • Re:Define "Public" (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:20AM (#33882332)
      References to the situation I described:
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6960304.stm [bbc.co.uk]
      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070116/115327.shtml [techdirt.com]
    • Re:Define "Public" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:28AM (#33882404) Homepage

      I don't agree with this. I think it should be the owners responsibility to secure their network, but the possibility for legal ramifications exists.

      So, if I have an electrical outlet outside of my house and I don't "secure it", should people be able to plug into my electricity with impunity? How about my garden hose? If I don't physically bar someone from parking in my driveway, that's OK? Is it OK to help yourself to my garden? How about siphoning the gas out of my car?

      There's loads of things in the physical world that aren't necessarily secured, but that you don't have a reasonable expectation of being able to use.

      I don't agree in any way that just because the wireless isn't 100% locked down that you should get a free pass to just use it. You know you're using a network that isn't yours -- just because you can connect to it doesn't mean you have carte blanch.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        electricity (or the fuel driving the turbine at least) can be used up. Bandwidth can only be saturated.

        • by Abcd1234 (188840)

          You're running under the assumption that the home owner has an unmetered broadband connection.

          • by hedwards (940851)
            In the US, they typically are. Even the ones that do are capped at 250gb which would be hard to max out with WiFi. I've been able to hit that a few times with a wired connection, but doing that over wireless would be tough. Fortunately, the one saving grace of Qwest is that they really don't have a cap.
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by wwfarch (1451799)
              Wireless vs wired has almost no bearing on whether or not you can use up a 250 GB bandwidth limit. The bandwidth available to wifi is typically much higher than the internet bandwidth itself.

              Assuming 30 days in a month that 250GB limit would be reached with a consistent throughput of just over 100 KBps. If you can't push that over your wireless connection then you have something seriously wrong in your network setup.

            • by Abcd1234 (188840)

              In the US, they typically are.

              For now, yes. But when (yes *when*, Verizon is already planning to roll out a usage-based fee model, and I'm willing to bet other ISPs won't be far behind) that happens, will you no longer advocate unauthorized use of other people's internet connectivity?

      • Re:Define "Public" (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rotide (1015173) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:40AM (#33882520)

        I see where you're going with that line of thinking and I agree to an extent. However, all of those analogies require you to physically go out and take/plug in/steal something that clearly isn't yours and shouldn't be.

        Logging onto an unsecured WiFi connection can be done incredibly easy while I'm in my pajamas in the middle of a blizzard. It can also be done innocently and unknowingly. "Wait, there are 4 "linksys" networks, which was mine again?".

        While I don't agree with torrenting or otherwise saturating someones connection, leaving it wide open and then being pissed when someone logs onto it is almost as ridiculous as yelling to your neighbor across the street and getting mad when another neighbors listens in and potentially adds their two cents. If you're not going to take the time to secure your broadcast transmissions, don't get pissed at those who listen/use it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gstoddart (321705)

          Logging onto an unsecured WiFi connection can be done incredibly easy while I'm in my pajamas in the middle of a blizzard. It can also be done innocently and unknowingly. "Wait, there are 4 "linksys" networks, which was mine again?".

          *laugh* For one, there is no "it was so easy I did it in my underpants" defense. Ease doesn't equate with right -- stealing candy from babies is trivial, for instance. ;-)

          There's also a huge difference between inadvertently using the wrong wifi, and intentionally looking for u

          • by rotide (1015173)
            The only point we're going to agree on seems to be more responsibility from the manufacturers. Personally, I'd like to see the radios turned off by default and you have to go through a little wizard to get them turned on. This would force those who purchase them to choose to offer it to the public, or to secure it. Because, really, you need to take responsibility for your own actions through what you do and what you setup in and around your residence. If you setup an AP that is wide open, well, frankly,
            • by Coren22 (1625475)

              The last couple wifi routers I have bought have been setup in this way, or with a very complex key that you can change if you like, but have to have physical access to see.

            • by gstoddart (321705)

              The only point we're going to agree on seems to be more responsibility from the manufacturers.

              And, it's important to note that I'm not disagreeing with you per se ... I'm merely advocating for a different position than you. You make some good points, I just don't think it's a binary issue. I think it's far more complex -- categorical statements in most endeavors (I will refrain from saying "all" ;-) aren't really helpful.

              Because, really, you need to take responsibility for your own actions through what y

            • by einhverfr (238914)

              Personally, I'd like to see the radios turned off by default and you have to go through a little wizard to get them turned on.

              The problem is that most of these use hard-coded IP addresses. If you run DHCP on your network, turning off the radio means you really have to plug the thing into a dedicated network connection to configure it.

              Wouldn't it be easier (though slightly more risky) and still within acceptable risk to turn off the ethernet port until it is configured?

              Moreover most of the wizards are Wind

            • by xaxa (988988)

              Almost all home wireless routers I see in the UK are either secured and have a default SSID (e.g. BTInternet24829, Thomson3468FE etc) or are unsecured and have a custom SSID (FreeNet, CoffeeShop, etc).

              The big ISPs send out routers preconfigured with all the necessary settings, and the default SSID and WPA key on a sticker on the bottom of the router. I just moved house, and my new router came like this, but there's also an option to set up a public (unsecured) network as well. (I haven't bothered yet, we're

              • In the UK do routers generally only come from your ISP? In the US the ISP often provides only a direct wired connection to a single computer: any router is often the customer's responsibility to provide and it comes from an electronics store (Best Buy, Walmart) so they're all configured exactly the same out of the box.
                • by xaxa (988988)

                  The big ISPs all provide a free wireless router (some seem to have this as a permanent "promotion", others just write things like "we'll send you a wireless box").

                  The small ones I've dealt with do too, but might charge an extra £30-40 for it.

                  I assume it prevents lots of technical support calls to send them out preconfigured.

          • by gparent (1242548)

            Logging onto an unsecured WiFi connection can be done incredibly easy while I'm in my pajamas in the middle of a blizzard. It can also be done innocently and unknowingly. "Wait, there are 4 "linksys" networks, which was mine again?".

            *laugh* For one, there is no "it was so easy I did it in my underpants" defense. Ease doesn't equate with right -- stealing candy from babies is trivial, for instance. ;-)

            The difference is that you do not begin automatically stealing candy from babies as you walk around them. The argument is perfectly fine.

          • by colinnwn (677715)
            Rotide's quote was cute, but didn't get to the root of the matter. The real issue is when you have a DHCP server you are running on an unsecured wireless connection, and you don't even bother to set your SSID to something like (stayoffmywireless), then you are inviting people to use it. I specifically and intentionally have my wireless unsecured to allow neighbors to occasionally borrow it, though I have the speed significantly throttled so I don't turn into the neighborhood free ISP.
          • So the other day I was walking along and noticed a nice park. I looked around and I saw a few unsecured benches. I looked around for a sign telling me who the owner was so that I could contact them and ask if it was open to the public, or if it was a privately owned bench left unsecured by someone else, but I could not find one. Without any indication that it wasn't a privately owned, unsecured bench sitting in a public place, I decided to use it.

            While sitting I decided to pull out my iDevice, and starte

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dancindan84 (1056246)
        All of the things you've described have 2 things that make them very different from using unsecured wireless:
        1. All of those things you've described require someone to trespass on your properly to get access to. Wireless could be available from as far away as across the street or in a completely different building.
        2. It's very easy to secure a wireless network, whereas securing those physical things would be rather awkward.
        3. There's no easy way to know if the network is public, or someone's private unsecured netwo
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chill (34294)

        And if you leave your front porch light on, should I be able to stand on the public sidewalk and read by it?

        Or, if you leave your blinds open and your big screen T.V. on, should I be able to stand on the public sidewalk and watch?

        Your cases are different because there are per-usage charges for the items you mention: water and electricity. If you paid a flat-rate for either, regardless of usage, it would be an interesting question. Especially because neither of them are "yours", you are just paying for usa

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Your cases are different because there are per-usage charges for the items you mention

          My internet is charged and metered. If I go beyond a certain amount, I pay for it. So, it's not a flat-rate, infinite supply scenario. Until my ISP stops telling me that bandwidth is finite and metered, it remains so.

          Now, my wifi is locked down, but I just don't think your argument about bandwidth holds water. I would argue for most people, their internet connection is far from being an un-metered, infinite service.

          Wit

          • by hedwards (940851)
            If you've failed to set up any authentication you've given everybody permission to use it. You set up authentication so that you limit who is and is not allowed to use it. That's the way that authentication works, an open or blank password is the same thing as granting permission to whomever it is that wants to log in. That's the reason why people use blank passwords. If you care who it is that logs in you don't use a blank password.
          • by chill (34294)

            Interesting. Standard setup in the U.S., from major Cable/DSL/Fiber ISPs is a flat-rate, unmetered connection that is limited by data rate (and ISP whim). Short of a satellite or cellphone connection, I can't remember the last time I saw a metered connection offered.

            With an open WiFi connection -- the only type I'm discussing -- you're walking a fine line with your definition. The problem is many systems are set up out-of-the-box to connect to any open wifi link in range. It makes life easier for tech s

            • by gstoddart (321705)

              Interesting. Standard setup in the U.S., from major Cable/DSL/Fiber ISPs is a flat-rate, unmetered connection that is limited by data rate (and ISP whim).

              Here in Canada, you get X Gigs/month at one rate. As you go over that, you essentially pay per gig. I had understood that even in the US, "unlimited" came with footnotes that essentially say "unlimited does not mean unlimited".

              So, yes. I'm arguing that the nature of open wifi accessible from public space gives implicit permission.

              I'm not saying that's f

              • by chill (34294)

                So far, every account I have has been "unlimited, but there is a cap" and over the cap they don't charge, but they start throttling hard.

                I have 3 kids at home that live on online games, online videos and chat. It isn't uncommon for them to all be set up with Teamspeak and Xfire for voice chat, with multiple chats at once; WoW or some such; plus a TV show streaming in a window. I should probably look at my bandwidth usage... :-) Comcast hasn't screamed at me lately.

                Yes, you're right in that there is a bi

        • Or, if you leave your blinds open and your big screen T.V. on, should I be able to stand on the public sidewalk and watch?

          Well that is a special case, there might be local laws regarding peering into open windows.

          But I think your point is valid. If I leave my wireless unsecured and it is spilling outside my house such that someone on the street can connect to the network, I can't really claim anyone is stealing my wireless. I made it accessible to the public. If I left a bowl of candy sitting on my front step, I'm not going to get angry at kids for stealing my candy.

        • by barzok (26681)

          Or, if you leave your blinds open and your big screen T.V. on, should I be able to stand on the public sidewalk and watch?

          At least until the NFL catches wind of it and drops lawyers on you for a public showing of their broadcast without express written consent.

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Most ISPs have stopped selling unlimited broadband. There's almost always a cap. Personally I only have a 25 GB cap, because it's cheaper and I almost never need more than that. Now if someone was leeching off my internet, they could easily download a couple torrents, and go through all that bandwidth in a couple days. Granted I secure my internet, so I have nobody leeching off my internet. However, there really is no argument that leeching from an open wifi router isn't stealing. If you download 1 GB
          • If you don't want to share your resources with the public, quit using the public airwaves to broadcast the availability of your resources for free, which is what an open access point does. It specifically tells other systems that it is there. It tells those systems that it is available. It assigns them the necessary address information required to make use of it. It happily routes for them. It does all of this across what the government considers a public resource: a segment of the EM spectrum used for comm

      • by kent_eh (543303)
        Would people be able to access your utilities without physically trespassing on your property?
        Would someone be able to use your garden hose without leaving the comfort of their own home?

        But then, does it cause you grief if someone on the sidewalk is listening to the music you are playing even though you paid (presumably) for the CD, and they are simply freeloading? You could turn it down or close the window (secure it from prying ears)
        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Would people be able to access your utilities without physically trespassing on your property?
          Would someone be able to use your garden hose without leaving the comfort of their own home?

          I merely make a counter-point to that argument that if the owner hasn't made steps to secure it, you get to use the resource with impunity. A point for discussion, not an absolutely final statement. I tend not to believe in black and white situations, and exploring the gray is often more interesting.

          Sometimes, things which

          • Since you don't like black and white, let's discuss shades of explicitness. How explicit of permission do I need?

            Is the broadcasting of "open network here" explicit enough? Each WiFi client card has its own uniquely assigned (unless I'm taking steps to clone someone's in order to trick the AP, of course, which would be stealing) MAC address which identifies it. Isn't it pretty explicit that I'm allowed to communicate with your AP if it associates with my device with its unique MAC? How about the DHCP server

      • by camcorder (759720)
        And what gives you the right to spread radio waves in my home? I don't think connecting to an unprotected wireless network is criminal issue as in your analogies, but an ethical issue.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Your electrical outlet is on your property; using it is tresspassing. Youe wifi signal is on MY propery. If you plug an extension cord into that outlet and toss the other end in my yard, I'm going to assume you have a flat fee for electricity and don't mind sharing it with me.

      • Well, to take the garden hose analogy and run with it->

        If I have a garden hose laying in my yard and it's running and a neighbor walks INTO my yard and drags it over to HIS yard and waters his flowers with it, then that would be "theft" of my water.

        If I have a sprinkler in my yard and it's going into my neighbors yard and watering his grass, I can't complain that he's benefiting from my water.

        The extension cord analogy is the same, if a neighbor walks into my yard and plugs something into my extens
      • >How about my garden hose?

        I think your garden hose analogy is quite appropriate.

        You are correct, that I should be able to walk onto your property and turn on your water and use your garden hose.

        But what if you set up a sprinkler in your yard, and some of your water sprays over into my yard?

        Should I be able to set out a bowl and collect the water that you are spraying into my yard? I think so.

        Your hypothetical unsecured wireless router is broadcasting beyond the boundaries of your property, and by the pr

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Your hypothetical unsecured wireless router is broadcasting beyond the boundaries of your property, and by the protocol it is using, is announcing itself to the world as being available for anyone to use. Why shouldn't anyone be able to use it?

          And, to answer a question with another question ...

          The closest example I can think of to this is satellite and other telecoms signals. Does the fact that a signal reaches you give you the legal right to use it? Or is it still considered private?

          I know broadcasters h

      • First, all the things you specified requires a user to come onto your property without authorization to obtain them. Radio frequencies spill onto adjacent properties unless you make an effort to prevent that from happening, with lower power or physical barriers (wet concrete walls or Faraday cages.) So it isn't a good comparison.

        But beyond that, unsecured wireless connections usually have a DHCP server running on them that is in essence advertising access and providing IP addresses to any takers. So if y
        • by colinnwn (677715)
          Crap...

          I stupidly put angle brackets around the SSID I wanted to say - (donotconnecttome)
      • by guruevi (827432)

        Depends on where you live really. Some would say your driveway is private property, but the legal arm of the government (in the US and some places elsewhere) really doesn't think it is so they can go in your driveway and then attach a GPS module to your car. Since your private parking lot has recently been declared public property, you really can't do anything when I park there, use (or remove) the water hose and electricity that you offer for free to the public.

        At least that's how precedent and the law wor

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I think it should be the owners responsibility to secure their network

      Secure the computers, leave internet access unfettered. If I see an unsecured access point my assumption is that the owner isn't a selfish hog and doesn't mind sharing his bandwidth.

  • ... so long as its not moving. If you're a passenger in a car doing 70mph you're going to be in and out of range of a wifi hotspot in a matter of seconds so what exactly is the point of this research? To prevent people getting bored in traffic jams in towns?

    • by xaxa (988988)

      It could be useful on a bus -- they tend to be in cities, the passengers tend to be bored, and they don't go very fast. (Cars in cities too, but they tend not to have passengers.)

      It might work on a train, but railways are less likely to be in WiFi range (tunnels, and the land around railways isn't often the kind of place you'd get free WiFi). It's probably easier to stick with the current system: have a WiFi hotspot on the train and let that figure out what to do (3G, Satellite, or however they do it).

    • If you are in a wifi hotspot 15% of the time it offloads 15% of the 3g usage. Thats the point. 3g is expensive.
      • by ledow (319597)

        Correction, 3G is artificially expensive (come on, NOBODY needs to account in pence per Mb any more!), sticking the equivalent of a basic business DSL-line connected DSL on every cell tower would cost nothing and allowing roaming between countries where the same operator is present in both (T-Mobile, I'm looking at you) means that's data is basically pence per Gb. You can QoS-limit it over the airwaves to prevent congestion (it SHOULD be the lowest priority traffic, even below SMS if that can be done) but

    • by geekoid (135745)

      The problem you describe isn't really a problem. It's been solved on a small scale.This could solve it on a huge scale.
      There are many uses for connecting to the internet beside surfing and watching videos.

      • by Viol8 (599362)

        Unless th vehicle is moving slowly then by the time the device has negotiated a connection with a wifi hotspot then its probably already out of range.

  • Wiffler is smart about when to send the packets. It doesn't replace 3G, it augments it and transmits over WiFi simultaneously, allowing users to set WiFi as the delivery method of choice when it is available -- and when an application can tolerate it. Not every application can handle even a few seconds delay in the stream (VoIP) -- and WiFi tends to drop more packets than 3G does. But many apps can handle even a minutes-worth of delay perfectly well (messaging).

    • by DCstewieG (824956)

      So the benefit of WiFi speeds can be used for extremely low bandwidth needs, but not high ones. Great, I'll be much happier that my 50 byte messages go over WiFi after a couple minutes than over 3G immediately.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:28AM (#33882408) Homepage Journal

    ... researchers determined that a reliable public WiFi hotspot would be available to their test vehicles only 11% of the time ...

    but then a closer look found that in those cases, 99% had the SID "Free Public WiFi".

    • by choongiri (840652)
      That is funny, but it also does say "reliable"... presumably that means "with functioning internet access".
      • by jc42 (318812)

        ... presumably that means "with functioning internet access".

        Well, I wouldn't bet on that. In my experience, when the connection-state display widget on a screen says 4 bars of signal, it means you have "reliable" messages between your gadget and one relay tower. It doesn't mean you can reliably exchange data with anything beyond that tower. It's merely the level-1 link status.

        Does anyone's handset actually test connection to a remote site before showing its "4 bars" status?

        • by choongiri (840652)
          Random handsets, no, but we're talking about the researchers' connections from their vehicle. I would hope that when specifically testing for availability, the researchers did a little more than drive around and see if their iphone could associate with the ap ;)
          • by jc42 (318812)

            I would hope that when specifically testing for availability, the researchers did a little more than drive around and see if their iphone could associate with the ap ;)

            Yeah, I'd hope so, too. But I wouldn't bet on it.

            Actually, with WiFI, it typically takes several seconds for a "connection" to the AP to stabilize. Consider the typical range of 30 or 40 m with WiFi APs, if you're in a moving vehicle, what are the chances you'd still be in range by the time the reply to a TCP message came back?

            • by choongiri (840652)

              if you're in a moving vehicle, what are the chances you'd still be in range by the time the reply to a TCP message came back?

              If you have that problem, the AP is going to be useless to you for offloading data to as well. This sort of usage is clearly unusual, and there are plenty of ways it can fail, but that's kind of why it's interesting - it gives you the possibility to offload data onto a wifi network if it's possible to do so. If you're not in range long enough, or don't find an open AP soon enough,

        • by karnal (22275)

          I've actually seen this issue with wifi. With the laptops that work uses, the green bars icon at the bottom can show 4 green bars - indicating that the user has good signal. To the laptop only.

          If you look on the controller/access point, there are times that the user's laptop is having severe difficulty reaching the AP - hence even though the user has 4 or 5 bars, the AP cannot process any packets (they're garbage) and the user's applications don't work.

          I think that the cell towers/phones work the same way

  • I've been saying it be over a decade: put the repeaters in the cars, create a dynamic mesh network. Don't correctly, a signal could travel hundreds of miles, from vehicle to vehicle. Pretty much all centrals of large populations would have WiFi access corresponding to the number of people using it.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      And the latency would be *atrocious*. Yeah, for a simple text message it might be okay, but for anything beyond that, it'd be a lesson in frustration.

  • This seems to be leaning towards a variant of Ricochet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricochet_(Internet_service) [wikipedia.org] I was actually pretty bummed out that they failed. They were way ahead of their time.
  • I feel like this is just encouraging me to use the phone and internet while driving. Awesome. Nothing more annoying than slow internet in slow traffic.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      It's for passengers, not drivers. Using the internet (or texting or reading a book) while driving is just plain stupid and dangerous to others.

  • use two different technologies in the first place. Cellular technology is obviously the clear winner with respect to mobile data communications when you can't be tied down to a WiFi base station. It isn't the technology that's the problem, it's the business model. Since it's obvious Verizon and kin are running the wrong direction on this maybe it's time to look at ways to compel them to operate differently.
  • networks is supposed to be a good thing?

    "Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Massachusetts have been working on a technology that would let mobile phones and other 3G devices automatically switch to public WiFi even while the device is traveling in a vehicle.

    "Hey my traffic can't be sniffed, hey my traffic is now being sniffed, hey it's secure again, now it's not!" Brilliant.

  • Already been done (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BodeNGE (1664379)
    It's already been done in 2007 by Nokia and Siemens, and is part of the 3GPP standard. 3GPP TR 23.806 (for voice, but works for data too). Repeat after me all you Americans: International standards are better than propriatary ones.
  • 802.11p (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SirMasterboy (872152)
    Isn't this idea kind of what the 802.11p amendment that was published last summer was for?
  • by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @11:28AM (#33883040)
    with the typical AP having only a 300m range in open air and traveling at 55+ MPH, they would be in and out of the AP quite quickly. But, if they were sitting in traffic then that would be another story. I've been quite disappointed with how many of the Android apps rely on 100% data connectivity instead of intermittent connectivity. Even the facebook app just dumps a notification and does not continue with the post or upload unless the user interacts with the notification. I found no setting in the maps/navigation app to cache the route but must rely on me manually scrolling through the entire route to cache it and then hit the road. Believe it or not, there are still dead xG spots out there and wifi-only is currently not an option.

    Maybe this study will wake up the apps developers to intermittent connectivity and make the device much easier to use.

    LoB
  • by WebManWalking (1225366) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @12:31PM (#33883770)
    Isn't that what HIP is for? Maintaining identity/virtual connections as one transitions across multiple Internet access points? At first glance, this appears to be reinventing the wheel.
  • Previous Research (Score:2, Informative)

    by mythandros (973986)
    Here's [mit.edu] a paper written by a fellow who's now a professor at U of I, Chicago which relates to the topic. The gist is that taxi's in a city were equipped with wifi and opportunistically connected to open access points as they traveled. The article won't revolutionize anything but it's certainly an interesting read and something worthy of building upon. One of the interesting parts is that the taxi-side wifi used a custom written utility to accelerate establishing a connection which didn't bother negotiatin
  • I thought UMA was supposed to give mobile devices a Generic Access Network [wikipedia.org] that would switch them seamlessly among GSM, WiFi and CDMA networks. We're already getting phones calling themselves "4G" - don't we have working UMA/GAN devices by now.

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