Wifi Highway - could this work?

Jeff Barr jeff@vertexdev.com
Thu, 2 Jan 2003 20:38:05 -0800


Ok FoRKers, tell me why this wouldn't work, or why it would, or better yet,
who can do this.

I think it would be really cool to have low cost high bandwidth connectivity
in my car, while driving. From the mundane but highly effective peer-to-peer
speed trap information network to streamed audio of my choice to detailed
traffic and routing info, to vocal IM with fellow travelers, there's got to be
a killer app (no jokes about crashing due to distraction from this) in here
somewhere.

Even cooler, it would be better if this were an open service and not metered
or regulated into the "expensive luxury" category.

Last month I found that a neighbor had inadvertently hooked up to my
WiFi network (its secured now :-). I later walked my neighborhood using a 
WiFi-equipped PocketPC and found 6 other networks within a 10 minute
walk. In one spot I "saw" 4 networks simultaneously. This tells me that
WiFi is catching on quickly, at least up here in Redmond near Microsoft.

So, here's the big idea. What if I WiFi-equipped my car and a bunch of 
other commuters did likewise? Would it be possible to dynamically form 
a network from all of these cars and have car-to-car connectivity? Imagine
some kind of cheap subscription service to pay for wired-to-WiFi bandwidth
at some convenient choke points. Sponsorship could also be used.

Clearly there is some minimum number of equipped cars that would be needed
to form a peer network. Given the wide open nature of most highways,
I wonder what this would be. If 1 out of 100 commuters on a particular
highway had a car-top WiFi antenna, would this be a good start?

Does anyone else find the possibilities intriguing? Is anyone working on
anything like this? I want it!

Thoughts?

Jeff;

Jeff Barr - Vertex Development - jeff@vertexdev.com
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