Free Wi-Fi software nixes need for routers

Wireless software from university can be downloaded at no cost

Researchers are making available software they say can be used to link nearby computers via Wi-Fi without a router and that someday could be used by cell phone users to make free calls.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology scientists say their WiPeer software (available as a no-cost download here) can be used to link computers that are within 300 feet of each other inside buildings to more than 900 feet apart outside.

The wireless link can be used to swap photos, conduct online chats and even transfer a 700MB file in 15 minutes or less, the scientists say.

"We want to bring this to as many people as possible," says Professor Roy Friedman of the Technion Faculty of Computer Science, in a statement. "When there are two computers in the same room, it doesn't make sense that they must go out to the Internet to communicate. WiPeer’s main added value is the ability to keep things local.”

Next up is extending the software to work with cell phones so that callers can bypass operators and talk to nearby people

WiPeer was created as part of the doctoral dissertation by students Vadim Drabkin, Gabi Kliot and Alon Kama under Friedman's direction, according to the school.

Distributing the WiPeer software is one way for university researchers to expose their inventions to a wide audience. Recent research shows that some schools are struggling under bureaucratic systems to get their technologies licensed and commercialized.

Technion researchers are working on a host of projects of interest to those in the network industry. We reported earlier this year on a project underway there to make computers smarter by enabling them to consult the online Wikipedia encyclopedia. The research could result in smarter search engines, e-mail filters and other advanced applications, according to the team.

Check out Network World's Alpha Doggs blog or the latest in networking research at universities and other labs.

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