Saturday, December 13, 2014

Portuguese technology powers citywide mesh internet

Our need to be always connected to the world has pushed cities to deploy hundreds or thousands of WiFi hotspots, but there's still a lot to be done. What if you could have internet in a bus, tram, taxi, and everywhere else - and better yet, that wouldn't require each of these mobile hotspots to have a separate (and paid) cellular plan. That's what a Portuguese company has already done in some of our cities, and is now ready to do the same in the USA.

How can a citywide public internet network be deployed in the most economic way? Veniam has the answer: a continuously reconfigurable mesh network that can use the most efficient path for data. Maybe a bus isn't in reach of the nearest hotspot, but maybe there's another bus in between that is. Using Veniam's NetRider boxes, users on this bus will be able to use the internet as usual via WiFi, even though their data is hopping across several vehicles to get to reach a land line.

As you can imagine, this kind of network works best if it can be deployed in a fleet of vehicles that is constantly moving around, like cabs, municipal vehicles, and the like. The more the better, as it will improve and expand the mesh network's coverage. Even so, vehicles can still rely on cellular data for backup, should they stray far from any other connected vehicle of fixed hotspot.

More than simply providing internet access for the public this kind of network also allows a city (or company) to track their vehicles in real-time, allowing them to more efficiently manage their resources.

Veniam has already deployed this technology in Porto, where bus users can be connected to the internet for free while they move around, but you might soon see the same thing happen in some north american cities that have grown fond of this Portuguese developed technology.

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