A new smartphone app Open Garden allows users to share mobile web access for free with other people nearby who have the same app in their devices. It forms a mesh network that enables each person connected to it to relay it to others.
Micha Benoliel, co-founder and CEO of the San Francisco-based company Open Garden said,”Every smartphone is a computer and a router, so we thought it was the right time to interconnect all of these devices together to make general access more ubiquitous”. He further said, the functionality could be especially useful for travelers eager to avoid hefty roaming charges. He said,”You can be traveling and arrive at an airport and instead of paying expensive roaming charges, you can just connect to someone in the airport who has Open Garden”.
If a smartphone user with Open Garden doesn’t have internet access, he/she can easily access the internet of another Open Garden user who’s in close proximity. In situations When there is no direct Internet connection in the network, the app accesses the Web through links to other devices such as laptops or mobile phones. If the person whose connection is being shared leaves the network, the app automatically connects to the next best connection. It is available for Android devices, Windows and Mac and works as a mesh network only if it has been installed by other people nearby to form the peer-to-peer connections. The Open Garden app can also be used to interconnect different devices, such as an iPhone and tablets, for free using the plan.
Though mobile carriers are concerned about losing revenue, the app is expected to benefit them by helping to decongest crowded 3G and 4G networks by offloading them to WiFi, where there is more capacity.