Cable and cellular operators are spending millions erecting Hotspot 2.0 networks in many urban centers. But large corporations can’t react as quickly as residents who know their neighborhoods.
Community-oriented networks often use inexpensive, consumer-oriented WiFi gear “flashed” with firmware that allows remote management and control of remote WiFi routers. Free, open source firmware, embedded on inexpensive (less than $100) WiFi hotspots can add new functionality to WiFi routers and make community networks practical.
CarrierWrt integrates some interesting functionality out-of-the-box: for example Anyfi.net, an Open Wi-Fi mobility platform.
Anyfi.net is a software extension for existing Wi-Fi access points.
According to AnyFi.net, this software extension makes your favourite Wi-Fi networks available wherever you happen to be. It’s like your network can follow you around. It works through a Wi-Fi over IP tunnel.
One application is seamless and secure guest access (“reciprocal Wi-Fi”), but AnyFi says it can also be used for carrier Wi-Fi.
Anyfi wants to turn any Wi-Fi access point into a virtual extension of mobile networks. The Swedish startup has raised $1.5 million to enable the construction of large Wi-Fi networks that would allow operators to easily build hybrid cellular-Wi-Fi networks like the ones deployed by France’s Free Mobile and by Japan’s Softbank.
AnyFi says the software is free, and is available to all vendors under a no-charge royalty-free license. In the future they may ask the end-user to pay a small fee for access to some access points.
By breaking the bond between physical radio and the Wi-Fi network, the startup says it will make it easier for carriers to build expansive hybrid Wi-Fi grids to offload data traffic.
Anyfi isn’t the only Wi-Fi networking startup getting attention, notes GigaOm. Multi-radio mesh networking app developer Open Garden just closed a $2.2 million seed round, while Devicescape, is getting a lot of attention from carriers and device makers, including Bouygues Telecom, Republic Wireless and Intel.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Community Wireless Summit, Cities of San Jose and Santa Clara Get Free WiFi, Carrier WiFi Moves Ahead, Municipal Broadband: Here We Go Again, AT&T Can’t Give Away Their Muni WiFi Net, Top Ten Municipal WiFi Stories of the Decade