Mar 25, 2014

What can wireless mesh networking be used for on iPhones?

One of the things that Apple added with iOS 7 was “wireless mesh networking.” How does this work, and what makes use of the feature?


This is really interesting. It uses the multipeer connectivity framework to provide access to other iPhone users and allow them to send SMS and MMS messages even neither of them don’t has an WiFi/3G/4G connection. It does it by more or less daisy chaining a series of iPhones together and passing the message along from a to b to c to d, etc., etc. until it reaches the intended recipient. Neat, eh? AirDrop and Firechat both use it. You can read more about the technical aspects of it on Apple’s website.  

How an Under-Appreciated iOS 7 Feature Will Change the World

"But here’s the really big deal — it can enable two users to chat not only without an Internet connection, but also when they are far beyond WiFi and Bluetooth range from each other — connected with a chain of peer-to-peer users between one user and a far-away Internet connection.

It’s called wireless mesh networking. And Apple has mainstreamed it in iOS 7. It’s going to change everything. Here’s why.

It can also extend an Internet connect to a place where none exists — for example, to a hotel basement, cave or to rural areas where cell tower connections are non-existent.

It does that through the mesh networking capability inherent in the Multipeer Connectivity Framework. With multiple users in the area, FireChat can relay messages just like the internet does, from node to node (phone to phone)."
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