The Multipeer Connectivity Framework enables users to flexibly use WiFi and Bluetooth peer-to-peer connections to chat and share photos even without an Internet connection. Big deal, right?
It’s called wireless mesh networking. And Apple has mainstreamed it in iOS 7. It’s going to change everything. Here’s why.
Some current applications:
U.S. military forces are now using wireless mesh networking to connect their computers, mainly ruggedized laptops, in field operations.
Electric meters now being deployed on residences transfer their readings from one to another and eventually to the central office for billing without the need for human meter readers or the need to connect the meters with cables.
The laptops in the One Laptop per Child program use wireless mesh networking to enable students to exchange files and get on the Internet even though they lack wired or cell phone or other physical connections in their area.
The 66-satellite Iridium constellation operates as a mesh network, with wireless links between adjacent satellites. Calls between two satellite phones are routed through the mesh, from one satellite to another across the constellation, without having to go through an earth station. This makes for a smaller travel distance for the signal, reducing latency, and also allows for the constellation to operate with far fewer earth stations that would be required for 66 traditional communications satellites.
(FireChat uses this technology)