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Wireless Networking Cellphones Microsoft Networking

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

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:5, Interesting)

    by kazade84 ( 1078337 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @10:15AM (#30282716)

    I was actually thinking of something like this yesterday. With the rapid increase in Wifi + Internet enabled phones and devices, it could be possible to actually have an entirely distributed network just by linking together devices in range.

    Perhaps that's where we should build the Internet 2, now governments around the world are doing everything they can to control the first one. :)

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @10:39AM (#30282946)
    +1, I never really see this brought up. This is the truth. If Comcast/ATT/Verizon/Sprint has to throttle your bandwidth because you are clogging their pipes, it is THEIR problem. They sold you the bandwidth. If they can't provide then they shouldn't sell it.
  • Re:But, but....... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @10:43AM (#30283014)
    I dunno, I had the same thought as parent. You Mods do realize that the differences in Office 2010 and Office 2k8 are interface differences? You do realize the differences in Vista and WIndows 7 are mere "bug fixes", much like Win 95 and Win98 were. WinME doesnt count... ever. Innovation at Microsoft is like News on Fox, it just doesnt happen.
  • Re:like BitTorrent (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bdenton42 ( 1313735 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @10:55AM (#30283186)
    No reason it would have to be the same tower... just hammer one from each service provider (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular, etc.).
  • Re:like BitTorrent (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:18AM (#30283520)
    Don't be ridiculous. The only way any company could do this is to only 'sell' their total bandwidth/number of users, and then cap each user at that level. That would give you a ridiculously low bandwidth, but you would be guaranteed to be able to use it all. Of course, they could build more infrastructure, but to get to the point where they have enough bandwidth to guarantee everyone the service you get now would probably require thousands of times as much infrastructure as there is now, and an infinitely wide spectrum to carry all that data. Would you pay $30000/mo to have your bandwidth guaranteed? Or, they could do what any sane person would do, and realize that at any given moment only a tiny fraction of their users are using ANY bandwidth, and build out to cover your average (not peak) usage. I am not sure how 'if they can't provide it they shouldn't sell it' benefits anyone. If you really think you would be better off with NO service (which is what not selling it means), then drop the service all together and stop complaining about it.
  • by anethema ( 99553 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:31AM (#30283664) Homepage
    I'm actually curious how you combine the speeds from multiple devices which use the same gateway to get a single faster connection. Doesn't this thing normally require seperate gateways per connection?

    The other way to get around this is to have 2 routers working for you doing basically the same thing, but the speedup is only between those two routers. To get faster internet speeds I'm pretty sure separate gateways are needed. Do they get around this ?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @12:02PM (#30284104)

    You lost me at "plug in."

  • by asdf7890 ( 1518587 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @12:28PM (#30284464)

    I've considered similar for when traveling by train. Not necessarily multiple mobile phone connections, but at least one phone and a connection to the train's similarly reliable and very crowded wireless (the train wireless is sometimes noticeably more lethargic than a GPRS link).

    The thought is a simple UDP relay/tunnel that can load balance packets over multiple connections (I have a little server out there that would act as the other end-point) and run OpenVPN over that channel for everything else. That way when both are working and able to send+receive packets I get two connections worth of bandwidth and when one stalls (as both often do, but often not at the same times) or grinds down to a speed at which it might as well be stalled/disconnected I might still have connectivity (just a little slower).

    This could easily extend to multiple phones too (if I can get the netbook to work properly with two bluetooth adapters and have the phones paired up reliably), to be on different networks (as I pass through some areas my vodafone signal dies but orange still has coverage, and vice versa).

    Of course this will add latency, but only a couple of 10s of ms which is small compared to that already found on either mobile phone or train wireless connections, and will result in a speed decrease when only one connection is active+capable due to the VPNs overhead, but it should provide me with a more reliable experience.

    Unfortunately I've not found such an UDP relay (or something else that would do the job of muxing the connections to the same effect) though and don't have time to write+test my own right now, but it might be an interesting spare-time project when I next have enough spare time for it (unless someone beats me to it).

    To cut a long story short and actually answer your question: if they are donig something not dissimilar to this then they are getting around the multiple gateways issue by defining their own local gateway and remote end-point which are intelligent enough to bond the different routes into a single link.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan