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Network World - Wireless is one of the hottest research areas among academics, who are looking at ways to make networks faster, less expensive and more energy-efficient. Here’s a whirlwind tour of some of the more intriguing projects underway at schools and labs across the United States (some of which are being presented at the HotNets IV conference being held in Atlanta next week.
The meltdown of some high-profile municipal Wi-Fi projects has the industry wondering what the alternative to bringing widespread wireless access to cities might be. Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. and MIT say the secret to success might lie in exploiting the dense network of Wi-Fi access points already rampant in many cities.
In a paper titled “Architecting Citywide Ubiquitous Wi-Fi Access,” the researchers introduce the idea of convincing current and future Wi-Fi hosts to grant access to legitimate guests whose traffic would be tunneled securely though the network and without hampering the host with any responsibility for it. “We offer this as an economically viable alternative to investing millions in new infrastructure,” the researchers write.
“We argue that citywide ubiquitous Wi-Fi access can be architected at near-zero cost because the network infrastructure is already in place: A majority of city dwellers have a broadband connection and a personal Wi-Fi AP at home,” the paper states. The researchers propose creating a cooperative of trusted Wi-Fi access points that could include implementation of gateways and servers to ensure security.