Boffins at the University of Illinois have developed software that enables the sharing of high-speed wireless connections without compromising security or privacy.
The software can improve internet connectivity in residential areas at no additional cost, according to the researchers.
A typical residential user accesses a broadband home connection about 12 to 15 hours a week, according to Haiyun Luo, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
While the internet connection is always on, most of the time it sits idle. Professor Luo intends to see that idleness put to good use by benefiting other users, and he and graduate student Nathanael Thompson believe they have a solution.
The pair have developed a software framework called Perm (Practical End-host collaborative Residential Multi-homing) that allows neighbours to pool internet access and improve performance and resilience.
"Perm exploits the diversity of broadband internet access in residential areas to improve connectivity in a managed way," explained Professor Luo. "Our design requires no support outside the user's wireless router, and is immediately deployable."
By pooling all available internet connections, neighbours can enhance their internet connectivity at no additional cost - providing that the neighbours are willing to share.
"Perm represents a paradigm shift in the internet user community," said Professor Luo. "Until now, most users have been unwilling to share their wireless connections for fear of losing security and privacy. We offer a solution that ensures mutual benefit, security and privacy."
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