Innovation That Matters

App turns smartphones into routers for peer-to-peer shared mobile internet coverage

Travel & Tourism

San Francisco-based Open Garden is looking to boost mobile broadband coverage by sharing devices' connectivity in densely populated areas using peer-to-peer technology.

We recently reported on Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble’s wifi-blocking wallpaper, which aims to make home and business networks more secure against unauthorized use. San Francisco-based startup Open Garden, however, is focused on democratizing internet access and is looking to boost mobile broadband coverage by sharing devices’ connectivity in densely populated areas. Fed up with the ‘closed’ nature of mobile networks and their patchy connectivity outside of urban areas, the founders of Open Garden – entrepreneur Micha Benoliel, internet architect Stanislav Shalunov and developer Greg Hazel – set about creating an app which effectively enables the hardware in mobile devices and laptops to act as a router, which others can connect to. Using peer-to-peer technology, each device with the app installed can broadcast their connectivity across a 20-meter radius, meaning that business centers with a high density of notebooks, smartphones and tablets can have guaranteed internet connections. The app works with devices that are connected to the internet through 3G/4G, wifi hotspots or femtocell bases. Although users will need to share some of their connection, Open Garden seeks to break down the restrictions placed on mobile devices by carriers, which often mean customers experience a lack of connectivity even when another brand’s broadcasting signal could get them online. The startup aims to encourage larger businesses to change the way they operate their mobile internet provision and to learn to share in order to generate extra income and provide a better service. Mobile phone operators – is this territory you would explore? Spotted by: Matthew Smith



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