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"Knitted" Wi-Fi Routers Create Failover Network For First Responders 97

Posted by timothy
from the fire-department-do-you-read-me dept.
wiredmikey writes "Wireless Internet routers used in homes and offices could be knitted together to provide a communications system for emergency responders if the mobile phone network fails, German scientists reported on Monday. In many countries, routers are so commonplace that they could be used by police and fire departments if cell towers and networks are down or overwhelmed by people caught up in an emergency, they say. This rich density means that an emergency network could piggyback on nearby routers, giving first responders access to the Internet and contact with their headquarters. The researchers suggest that routers incorporate an emergency 'switch' that responders can activate to set up a backup network, thus giving them a voice and data link through the Internet. This could be done quite easily without impeding users or intruding on their privacy, the study argues. Many routers already have a 'guest' mode, meaning a supplementary channel that allows visitors to use a home's Wi-Fi." This is a cool angle on mesh networking — reminds me of the emergency response capabilities of ham radio; if it sounds intriguing, remember that even sparse networks can make use of this kind of networking with the right antennas. Related: even without touching the hardware on your router, you can do some meshing around with Byzantium.
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"Knitted" Wi-Fi Routers Create Failover Network For First Responders

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  • Cell Phone App? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @12:18PM (#41069177)

    Is there a Cell Phone version? I mean, not everyone knows how to revamp their router, whereas everyone knows how to enable that "in case of an emergency" App. (For Mesh, not for using the cell network)

  • Potential for abuse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by na1led (1030470) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @12:22PM (#41069229)
    Once you let them have access to your network, they will rely on it more and more, till they saturate your network. Unless they want to pay for using my equipment and my service, I say no way!
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @12:26PM (#41069277)
    I used to live next door to a public library that had free wifi. Guess where the safest spot in the neighborhood was on the graveyard shift? That's right - the library's parking lot. Without fail, almost every night, there would be a cruiser parked there with the two cops surfing the net. I guarantee you that this 'emergency switch' would just get used by cops to get free internet access where they're hidin...er, "patrolling".
  • by Nkwe (604125) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @01:38PM (#41070323)

    I used to live next door to a public library that had free wifi. Guess where the safest spot in the neighborhood was on the graveyard shift? That's right - the library's parking lot. Without fail, almost every night, there would be a cruiser parked there with the two cops surfing the net. I guarantee you that this 'emergency switch' would just get used by cops to get free internet access where they're hidin...er, "patrolling".

    If a cop or other "first responder" type wants to park on the street near my house and use my net connection, they are welcome to. Having a cop car parked on the street is a nice crime deterrent. Sure there are some bad cops out there, but they are the exception and not the rule, and even in the case of a bad cop - wouldn't you want them on "your side"?

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