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Cool-Tether Links Phones' Bandwidth To Make High-Speed Hotspots

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the broadish-band dept.

Wireless Networking 102

Barence writes "Microsoft Research has found a novel way of beating the deplorably slow speeds of mobile broadband, by combining several phones together to make one high-speed hotspot. Dubbed Cool-Tether, the system harnesses the mobile data connection of multiple mobile handsets to build an on-the-fly Wi-Fi hotspot. 'To address the challenges of energy efficiency, Cool-Tether carefully optimises the energy drain of the WAN (GPRS/EDGE/3G) and Wi-Fi radios on smartphones,' Microsoft's research paper claims. 'We prototype Cool-Tether on smartphones and, experimentally, demonstrate savings in energy consumption between 38%-71% compared to prior energy-agnostic solutions.'"

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like BitTorrent (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282606)

a novel way of beating the deplorably slow speeds of mobile broadband, by combining several phones together to make one high-speed hotspot.

Mobile operators will just love this! Considering the cell towers can be a bit slow already and especially so when many people are using them for internet, this will not magically provide better speed off it. But it lets users abuse the network same way that BitTorrent does - hammer the network so much that you get more while others suffer.

While operators already have unlimited 3G for cheap (not in USA, so they actually are unlimited), the only way slow speeds of mobile broadband is going to improve is to push for new technologies and make the operators improve their network. But not that 3G's 5Mbps would be that slow anyway.

Re:like BitTorrent (4, Interesting)

kazade84 (1078337) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282716)

I was actually thinking of something like this yesterday. With the rapid increase in Wifi + Internet enabled phones and devices, it could be possible to actually have an entirely distributed network just by linking together devices in range.

Perhaps that's where we should build the Internet 2, now governments around the world are doing everything they can to control the first one. :)

Re:like BitTorrent (2, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282906)

With the rapid increase in Wifi + Internet enabled phones and devices, it could be possible to actually have an entirely distributed network just by linking together devices in range.

And just imagine the legal complexities if someone actually ran a torrent over it, with unapproved content...

Re:like BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283622)

Nobody will care besides the companies.
If this mesh is disconnected from the original internet, they can't do a thing outside of trying to push laws to prevent it... and the instant they try that, they are going to get kicked out.

All they will be able to do now is run spying nodes just like they normally do.
Everything in the mesh will have a hardcoded ID somewhere, unless we want to go as far as making the system anonymous, but that is just too much hassle.

Re:like BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30286002)

OMG John Titor was right!!!!!!!!

does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30300648)

He spoke about the future "Internet" consisting of an ad-hoc wireless mesh network.

Do I win?

mesh networks (1)

snooo53 (663796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283032)

A mesh network seems like a great idea. But how do you do it in a consumer version? What we need is a cheap box that someone can plug in and forget. With one based on 802.11g or n you're talking a couple hundred feet of coverage, if you're lucky. The bare minimum for a system needs to be a few thousand feet or more if you truly want to create a city wide network independent of a residential ISP.

Re:mesh networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30285074)

Thats not what the purpose of this is. RTFA

Re:like BitTorrent (2, Informative)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283452)

Mobile phone mesh networks actually aren't a new idea [slashdot.org] , although this seems to include a slightly new wrinkle. The benefit is not just aggregating the phone-to-network links for higher bandwidth, but lower energy consumption by making optimal use of the amount of data delivered while the phone is in an high-powered state. Microsoft's approach differs from yours and the link above in that this does not appear to be designed to allow you to go off-network onto a parallel, ad-hoc peer-to-peer mobile version of the internet. It's basically designed to trunk 3G phone-to-network connections together.

Re:like BitTorrent (2, Funny)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282760)

But it lets users abuse the network

Bittorrent?

I like to abuse my network by complaining how slow it is to responding to my requests for pictures of sandwiches and how much space its old equipment takes up. I always threaten to keep it off the surge protector or knock it off the shelf so I can get a nice new slim model with all the bells and whistles.

Re:like BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282802)

LOL +1 "thinly veiled misogyny"

Or is that -1... I can never remember.

Re:like BitTorrent (1, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282866)

Specifically, the issue is that HSDPA only gives about 3Mbps per tower, and no mesh wi-fi network will get around that because each phone will be using the same over-subscribed tower.

Re:like BitTorrent (2, Interesting)

bdenton42 (1313735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283186)

No reason it would have to be the same tower... just hammer one from each service provider (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular, etc.).

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284208)

Which, in some cases, share the same backhaul.

Re:like BitTorrent (2, Informative)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284056)

Specifically, the issue is that HSDPA only gives about 3Mbps per tower

I'm pretty sure you mean per channel. Multiple devices can use different frequencies from the same tower.

Re:like BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30298126)

Can't you use the mesh to connect to a second tower some distance away which at least might be less congested and using a different backhaul? You could even use the mesh network to jump to make the most efficient use of the bandwidth in the adjacent cells.

Re:like BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282884)

You can find more about Cool-Tether technology is on Microsoft Research website:
http://research.microsoft.com/apps/pubs/default.aspx?id=103175

Re:like BitTorrent (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282898)

Using bandwidth that you have PAID for is not abuse. A company overselling their capacity or promising more bandwidth than they provide is fraud however.

Re:like BitTorrent (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282946)

+1, I never really see this brought up. This is the truth. If Comcast/ATT/Verizon/Sprint has to throttle your bandwidth because you are clogging their pipes, it is THEIR problem. They sold you the bandwidth. If they can't provide then they shouldn't sell it.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283396)

You guys missed the redefinition of "unlimited" Internet... now "unlimited" means you can use it whenever you want and be connected all the time (unlimited connection!), for whatever low-bandwidth tasks the ISP approves of. To reserve bandwidth for their VOIP or IPTV or whatever products/services.

Re:like BitTorrent (1, Interesting)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283520)

Don't be ridiculous. The only way any company could do this is to only 'sell' their total bandwidth/number of users, and then cap each user at that level. That would give you a ridiculously low bandwidth, but you would be guaranteed to be able to use it all. Of course, they could build more infrastructure, but to get to the point where they have enough bandwidth to guarantee everyone the service you get now would probably require thousands of times as much infrastructure as there is now, and an infinitely wide spectrum to carry all that data. Would you pay $30000/mo to have your bandwidth guaranteed? Or, they could do what any sane person would do, and realize that at any given moment only a tiny fraction of their users are using ANY bandwidth, and build out to cover your average (not peak) usage. I am not sure how 'if they can't provide it they shouldn't sell it' benefits anyone. If you really think you would be better off with NO service (which is what not selling it means), then drop the service all together and stop complaining about it.

Re:like BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283606)

wow look an apologist and he's got the same tired excuses about the technical impossibility of providing decent bandwidth to customers.

the infrastructure doesn't cost very much, especially not these days. the reason that ISPs sell shared bandwidth to people is because they make more money that way, not because they can't afford the infrastructure.

look at almost any country in europe. they have much faster connections for lower cost than anything in the US. that alone proves that the motivation behind US ISPs is nothing but pure greed.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30285204)

You're correct that ISPs (like most businesses) are greedy. However, you're completely mistaken about the scale involved.

You can currently buy 10mbps cable service in most markets for under $100/mo. A real, dedicated 10mbps link with guaranteed bandwidth costs about $1,000/mo. Even that just gets you priority, not a full guarantee, when it comes to backhaul traffic.

Let's do the math. A mid-sized metropolitan area might have a half million households. Say 10% of them had internet access - that's 50,000 lines. At 10mpbs, that's 488.28125 gbps for the city.

Do you know anyone who can drop a 1/2 terabit/s line into your ISP (you'd need several for redundancy, of course, but this is simple math)? Or anyone who makes equipment that could service it? 'Cause I sure don't...

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30285256)

Half true. The US is about as big as all of Europe. With some of the lowest population density of any civilized nation, it takes a lot more cabling, and a LOT more infrastructure.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30287468)

Meaningless...

We should be able to compare pricing between, say, Oxford and Austin. Or NYC and Paris. Rural pricing would differ due to density, urban pricing for similar densities shouldn't vary for that reason (it may for other reasons, of course). And the rural argument falls short considering the billions the telcos have been given by the government (through additional mandatory charges to their customers) to cover their cost in upgrading the rural network.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30287566)

So you can connect at 100mb to the other side of NYC. To get to a server in California, you still need nationwide infrastructure.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289830)

Or peering with a solid tier one backbone, although I do suppose that would be considered nationwide infrastructure. Don't get me wrong though, I realize and have seen OC-192 links get saturated, it can and does happen, but I don't think the problem is on the backbone as much as it is a problem in individual cities that have low capacity to their local POPs.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290334)

Depends on how wide your definition of rural is. The real shortcoming we have in the US is small cities in the 5,000 to 100,000 population range. And they most don't have links to them of any grade one would call "backbone."

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290488)

...small cities in the 5,000 to 100,000 population range. And they most don't have links to them of any grade one would call "backbone."

True enough, as a city dweller I often forget that. I suppose I was commenting on getting from NYC (which definitely has a tier one backbone going into it) to a city in CA sounds like it should be going over a major pipe that can handle the load, at least until it gets to CA and has to possibly route into a tiny town, which goes back to my comment of the problem being local POPs with low capacity. Granted you are entirely correct that some low population ranged places are likely not going to have nearby links into a backbone.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290674)

Yeah, more places in this country have been visited by Google's Street View vans than have ever had access to high speed Internet.

Re:like BitTorrent (2, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284948)

Or, they could do what any sane person would do, and realize that at any given moment only a tiny fraction of their users are using ANY bandwidth

Exactly. And that's precisely what makes the whole not-enough-bandwidth problem so ridiculous. No one's asking them to provide the total theoretical amount of bandwidth that they're selling. But they're overselling by so much that they can't even cover what their customers ARE trying to use, let alone what they're actually selling. It's basically the equivalent of an airline selling 500 tickets for a 120-passenger flight. Not to mention the fact that (in the US) they have already been paid by the government to add infrastructure and expand bandwidth.

Re:like BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30286870)

I call BS. Look at Europe, Japan, or Korea. While they have bandwidth good enough on their cellphones for real time streaming of video at 1024p, here in the US, we get nothing but excuses and fees.

I'm all for any technology that kicks the cellphone providers who are obviously failing in their job to "provide". The iPhone did this and woke cellphone companies that people don't just want another RAZR v3, but actual smartphones. Now we need to get the companies to realize that ISDN level bandwidth was great in 1999, but is woefully inadequate compared to other nations where the people enjoy megabit bandwidth.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283118)

I wasn't really talking about using the bandwidth, just the way how BitTorrent establish it and what effects it has on the network. They both "spam" the network with as many connections as possible to maximize speed, but that comes with cost of the others. On local level, if your torrent client is using 1000 connections at a time, your browser that is using 1-5 connections is going to suffer.

This thing is doing basically just the same, only that the ones "spamming" the phone tower with connections are those using this tether network. The ones not using it are going to suffer.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284096)

Hi. Meet my friend QoS [wikipedia.org] . He will solve all of the problems with your perception that bittorrent is killing the internet.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30285288)

QoS NEVER works.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30287492)

QoS NEVER works.

Not true. It works until the first time somebody decides to abuse it.

Oh, wait. That's what you said, isn't it. Never mind...

You get what you pay for. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30288570)

Using bandwidth that you have PAID for is not abuse. A company overselling their capacity or promising more bandwidth than they provide is fraud however.

You might want to read your contract and TOS.

If you are paying the mass market price for broadband you are paying for speeds "up to" some limit.

When and as available.

Western Union - a century or so back - printed a disclaimer on the top of every ordinary telegraph form that promised nothing more than a good faith attempt at prompt and accurate delivery.

The more things change...
   

Re:You get what you pay for. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30293914)

The contract that I have now is the same as I've had for years. It states very specific speeds for downstream and upstream. My ISP is excellent. They deliver on what they promise and I have never had any problems with them.

However, if they were to ever try to shortchange me, I wouldn't care what the contract says. A contract is not legally binding if it goes against the law. Fraud is against the law.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

berwiki (989827) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283322)

hammer the network so much that you get more while others suffer.

The bit-torrent argument is slightly inappropriate due to the fact I do not see constant, all-day file-sharing becoming common place on mobile phones in the near future. (primarily due to battery issues) This is for downloading an attachment, or more likely, many separate images to load a website faster. I do not expect many people will use this technology to download a blu-ray movie from mininova with an down/up ratio of 1:1.

It may encourage people to perform more internet-related activities, but if they spend less time pulling data, then others should not suffer the way you are expecting.

Re:like BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283502)

Because with the "unlimited" plan that you paid for, "using" == "abusing"? Wonderful.

Diffrent phones : Different operators (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283912)

Well, nothing prevents you from using several phone each using *a different* operator.
Thus you're not eating up more "user slots" than the average user, but spreading your bandwidth across several towers of several operators.

And the bittorrent problem is more linked to shitty service providers who attempts to oversell more bandwidth that they actually have and then come back crying when the users start attempting to use their connections as advertised.

Re:like BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30287512)

But it lets users abuse the network same way that BitTorrent does - hammer the network so much that you get more while others suffer.

That has nothing to do with P2P sharing. You can max out a connection by downloading/uploading from/to anywhere, it's not limited to a single application that has been demonized by the Telcoms.

I hope you enjoy the kool-aid.

Re:like BitTorrent (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30287938)

A better comparison would be to "download accelerators". You know, the ones which boost download speeds by opening 30 connections to the exact same server, crowding out other users...

Bittorrent isn't designed to crowd out small users off of the net in order to get its speed, it's just an unfortunate side-effect of how some network hardware works. Download accelerators on the other hand, get their speed exactly the same way as this device.

Re:like BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30292610)

Cool! Instead of paying $0.25 a megabyte overage fees, I'll be paying $0.25 x N per megabyte (where N is the number of phones being used). This is not a big improvement where I am standing.

What mobile company would support this? (3, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282720)

Seriously, which mobile provider, at least in the US would support this? Most already don't like you tethering. I can't imagine their reaction to multiple customers pooling their services together to take full advantage of their mobile broadband.

Re:What mobile company would support this? (1)

Saint Ego (464379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283472)

They can't hold off supporting it much longer. As more providers distribute phones capable of supporting features like this, they are all brought closer and closer to the line. One of them will cross it first, and then the rest will follow. Tethering will be a ubiquitous feature in another year or two, even in the US.

No, they don't like it. Yes, they will do something about it if/when they perceive it to be abused. No, it won't matter in the long run.

Re:What mobile company would support this? (3, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283478)

Anyone want to take bets whether the iPhone store will allow this app? (Hey, since the US is delaying anti-gambling regulations, I'm still okay asking this, right?)

Re:What mobile company would support this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283882)

I'll take that bet. It will happen when hell freezes over, or when apple opens the Iphone to third party unapproved apps.

Re:What mobile company would support this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30285782)

I'll take that bet. It will happen when hell freezes over, or when apple opens the Iphone to third party unapproved apps.

No need to be redundant

Re:What mobile company would support this? (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294740)

How would they stop you? Androids, iPhones (once jailbroken), Windows Mobile, Symbian, Maemo, etc. all let you run your own apps. How hard would it be to write one (and port it to all the above platforms) that implements this with a common/standardized protocol? Just combine the program with a browser and you don't even need to worry about messing around with the OS

Meme redux (2, Funny)

minvaren (854254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282738)

So given the disruptive effect on the cell data network this would have, would it be more apt to call it a Grendel cluster?

Can't wait for the pwnage (1)

gravyface (592485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282748)

when someone figures out a way to create a swarm of zombie phones using this technology.

suggestion... (1)

cashX3r0 (1588469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282782)

rename it to sweet-tether. this way users aren't expecting their phones to be colder when using the service. but i do think that it is a very rad move using hot names that jive with today's lingo.

Re:suggestion... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30285290)

won't that just cause people to want to lick their iCandy?

But, but....... (5, Insightful)

endeavour31 (640795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282836)

Everyone here knows Microsoft cannot innovate!

Re:But, but....... (1)

DebianDog (472284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282990)

I know it is nothing like my 2 year old Kyocera router that allows multiple broadband access cards to join bandwidth to make a wifi hotspot... oh wait.

Logical progression != innovation

Re:But, but....... (2, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283014)

I dunno, I had the same thought as parent. You Mods do realize that the differences in Office 2010 and Office 2k8 are interface differences? You do realize the differences in Vista and WIndows 7 are mere "bug fixes", much like Win 95 and Win98 were. WinME doesnt count... ever. Innovation at Microsoft is like News on Fox, it just doesnt happen.

Re:But, but....... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289710)

You Mods do realize that the differences in Office 2010 and Office 2k8 are interface differences?

Nothing is more likely to have a direct impact on the productivity of the office worker than the UI.

You do realize the differences in Vista and Windows 7 are mere "bug fixes", much like Win 95 and Win98 were.

These "bug fixes" have been enough to give Win 7 5% of the global market one month after its official release.

Windows 7 Breaks 5% in Daily Tracking - Mac Share Drops .15% in November [hitslink.com]

Re:But, but....... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284468)

It's Microsoft Research. They publish lots of interesting papers and have a huge amount of funding for research. Very few of their good ideas actually make it into shipping Microsoft products.

Re:But, but....... (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30286764)

I thought about moderating this poster up, but decided that there's a fair chance I'll participate, so I'll back up this.

I do research in programming languages (almost more "program analysis" at this point). The two top conferences in our area are POPL (Principles of Programming Languages) and PLDI (Programming Language Design and Implementation). At least in my area, MSR (Microsoft Research) publishes at least on par with a top-tier research university, and judging by the program [psu.edu] for POPL 2010, even more so.

Between MSR Redmond, MSR Bangalore, and MSR Cambridge, there are MSR people who are coauthors on eight of the 41 papers accepted. The next runner up: Cambridge University, with authors on "only" 3 papers. Most of those papers are collaborations between MSR people and professors at other universities. Even so, two papers are co-authored entirely by MSR employees. That ties Cambridge, Harvard, Tohoku University, UCSD, and U Penn.

MSR has also done much of the work over the last decade that's been pretty groundbreaking in software model checking (the SLAM work, and more recently, Yogi).

I can't speak to how dominant they are in other subfields, but they're at least well-respected all-around.

Re:But, but....... (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295192)

No, they can innovate.  They just can't figure out how to make money off it.

They could if they weren't so greedy.  I actually respect the fact that MS sponsors pure research, more or less.  But they should look to GOOG to learn how to capitalize the results properly (instead of being douchebags).

No big innovation (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30300868)

Hardly innovative - it's basically load-balancing multiple cellular connections and making it available with a WiFi access point. I could do that right now with a Linux (maybe pfSense?) box (I think about it every time my shit ADSL connection goes out, but of course a setup like this would be horrendously expensive). It's also nearly same idea as the "wifi mega-snarfer" concept that's been around for ages - except this uses multiple cell connections instead of multiple unsecured wifi access points. The power management is cool but nothing groundbreaking - power management is a blatanty obvious issue when running on battery power.

I'll admit it's surprisingly un-corporate and not-vanilla for Microsoft though.

Cydia (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283010)

so when will they release this for Cydia?

...and the news is power saving? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283016)

The system is most likely to be harnessed in developing nations such as India, where mobile internet is far more prevalent than fixed-line access.

So, the system is aimed at applications where GPRS/EDGE/3G speeds are not sufficient but there is no access to power lines, and there are several phones to mitigate the speed problem? Like, I don't know, team of computer pirates torrenting while on the move to be hard to locate? Or live TV broadcasting?

I mean, usually if you have several smartphones at hand, and a computer with a job that requires network speed exceeding 3G, you often have some sockets to plug the chargers in...

AKA JoikuBoost (2, Informative)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283074)

Way to innovate MS! JoikuBoost [joiku.com] : "JoikuBoost joins multiple 3G connections from mobile phones and operator networks into one larger unified and shared bit pipe, accessible over WiFi from e.g. laptops."
Who wants to bet they'll get the patent anyway ?

Re:AKA JoikuBoost (3, Insightful)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283192)

Except for the fact that JoikuBoost doesn't manage the power utilization like Cool-Tether does. Also, this is actually a follow on to their previous invention called "Combine" which was announced in 2007. JoikuBoost appears to be a very recent (October 1, 2009) product.

Bill

Re:AKA JoikuBoost (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283620)

Except for the fact that JoikuBoost doesn't manage the power utilization like Cool-Tether does. Also, this is actually a follow on to their previous invention called "Combine" which was announced in 2007. JoikuBoost appears to be a very recent (October 1, 2009) product.

Multipath IO is hardly what I'd call an invention these days (or even in 2007) but yeah that certainly puts them ahead of Joiku. Still you know what they say, "Real artists ship." ;-)
The energy savings do sound pretty spectacular though.

Re:AKA JoikuBoost (1)

unusual_id (1459529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289580)

Bill, is that you? Oh wait...

Alpine! (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283096)

Implement this as an ssh worm for jailbroken iPhones and we have a world wide free WiFi network. Thanks Microsoft!

Does this use less battery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283110)

...or just someone else's?

Old news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283226)

Are you kidding? I've been doing this for about a year now using Mikrotik routers and either multiple ADSL connections or multiple 3G connections.

It's simply (ok maybe not so simply) a case of setting up routing and mangling rules so that *new* connections outbound are sent round-robin and all connections inbound are always responded to over the original link.
This method requires no support from the upstream provider and can use as many connections as required.

Deplorably slow? (1)

brucmack (572780) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283318)

Deplorably slow? HSDPA is already faster than most people's broadband. Seems like a solution looking for a problem to me...

Re:Deplorably slow? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284502)

HSPDA is lucky to get 5Mb/s in real-world usage. If you are living somewhere where this is faster than most people's broadband, then you are probably not living in one of the HSPDA deployment areas (unless you are in a country where there is little or no wired telephone infrastructure).

Re:Deplorably slow? (1)

brucmack (572780) | more than 4 years ago | (#30286068)

I would say 5 mbit is faster than what most people have in many parts of the world. Especially in areas where ISPs don't oversell their bandwidth. Here in Denmark, most users choose a 2 or 4 mbit plan as it is cheaper and fast enough for them. It is also quite common to see HSDPA over 10 mbit (again, since the providers tend not to oversell much).

Hot-Tether (1)

klui (457783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283468)

With all those phones running, I would imagine them running anything but cool.

out of the box on Linux (2, Informative)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283534)

You get this kind of thing out of the box on Linux: just plug in multiple phones and configure multiple internet connections; you get load balancing, on-demand dialing, and all that for free. Linux got this support years ago for dial-up modems, but mobiles phones look like dial-up modems to Linux anyway. It's not usually done with cell phones because it's expensive (that's why there's no simple UI for configuring it), but it's well documented and pretty easy to set up.

(Of course, with Windows and WinMo, it may actually be rocket science.)

Re:out of the box on Linux (4, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283906)

that's why there's no simple UI for configuring it

Well, for many people, they cannot do anything on a computer with out the "simple UI". So bringing something that a very small population knows how to do on a OS that most have not heard of to the general population might be something worth doing.

Re:out of the box on Linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30284104)

You lost me at "plug in."

Re:out of the box on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30284206)

He lost me at "Linux".

(Here's my geek card.)

Good job (5, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283576)

Microsoft Research has found a novel way of beating the deplorably slow speeds of mobile broadband...

Good job, research division. Now reluctantly hand it over to marketing which will:

- Tie it to Windows Mobile
- Cripple it to only work with Hotmail and Bing
- Junk it up with "partner channels"
- Drag out deployment long enough for Apple to be able to field something smaller, cooler and 5x more expensive six months ahead

Re:Good job (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294770)

- Tie it to Windows Mobile
- Cripple it to only work with Hotmail and Bing
- Junk it up with "partner channels"
- Drag out deployment long enough for Apple to be able to field something smaller, cooler and 5x more expensive six months ahead

- Google releases an unrestricted similar product that's twice as capable.
- ?????
- Profit.

Don't you need seperate gateways for this? (2, Interesting)

anethema (99553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283664)

I'm actually curious how you combine the speeds from multiple devices which use the same gateway to get a single faster connection. Doesn't this thing normally require seperate gateways per connection?

The other way to get around this is to have 2 routers working for you doing basically the same thing, but the speedup is only between those two routers. To get faster internet speeds I'm pretty sure separate gateways are needed. Do they get around this ?

http://lartc.org/lartc.html#LARTC.LOADSHARE

Re:Don't you need seperate gateways for this? (2, Interesting)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284464)

I've considered similar for when traveling by train. Not necessarily multiple mobile phone connections, but at least one phone and a connection to the train's similarly reliable and very crowded wireless (the train wireless is sometimes noticeably more lethargic than a GPRS link).

The thought is a simple UDP relay/tunnel that can load balance packets over multiple connections (I have a little server out there that would act as the other end-point) and run OpenVPN over that channel for everything else. That way when both are working and able to send+receive packets I get two connections worth of bandwidth and when one stalls (as both often do, but often not at the same times) or grinds down to a speed at which it might as well be stalled/disconnected I might still have connectivity (just a little slower).

This could easily extend to multiple phones too (if I can get the netbook to work properly with two bluetooth adapters and have the phones paired up reliably), to be on different networks (as I pass through some areas my vodafone signal dies but orange still has coverage, and vice versa).

Of course this will add latency, but only a couple of 10s of ms which is small compared to that already found on either mobile phone or train wireless connections, and will result in a speed decrease when only one connection is active+capable due to the VPNs overhead, but it should provide me with a more reliable experience.

Unfortunately I've not found such an UDP relay (or something else that would do the job of muxing the connections to the same effect) though and don't have time to write+test my own right now, but it might be an interesting spare-time project when I next have enough spare time for it (unless someone beats me to it).

To cut a long story short and actually answer your question: if they are donig something not dissimilar to this then they are getting around the multiple gateways issue by defining their own local gateway and remote end-point which are intelligent enough to bond the different routes into a single link.

Power utilization estimates sound like B.S. (1)

Da_Biz (267075) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283838)

savings in energy consumption between 38%-71% compared to prior energy-agnostic solutions
This strikes me as hubris (at least a little). While TFA talks about throttling down power usage, we're talking about doing this with multiple components being replicated (CPUs, maybe WiFi receivers, connectivity between phones, etc.).

MS is a Hog (1)

dontgetshocked (1073678) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284210)

Please don't take my bandwidth away Microsoft,I need it.

Microsoft Research (0, Troll)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284312)

The same brilliant minds that brought us Microsoft Songsmith.

Re:Microsoft Research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30285120)

The same brilliant minds that brought us Microsoft Songsmith.

What the hell is/was Micro$oft $ongsmith?

Re:Microsoft Research (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30288826)

So I get modded troll for mentioning another Microsoft Research product? Ok, so I forgot the link: Microsoft Songsmith [microsoft.com]
 
It's a program that plays accompanying chords to match up with improvised recorded singing. The video ad they created is even more painful of a concept.

Typical Microsoft academic pub- why? (1)

pdxp (1213906) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284552)

I'm an academic and I actually have to sift through bullshit like this to get to the real research, and it's quite frustrating.

As usual, they choose to address things readers will find interesting and leave out important details. Here's a few pseudo-equations for you:

PowerRequired(802.11) < Power(3G).
PowerRequired(3G x N phones) >> PowerRequired(One 802.11 AP).
SpeedAndReliability(One 802.11 AP) > SpeedAndReliability(3G x N phones (N < 20 probably)).


And most importantly:
Cost(N tethered phones) >>>>> Any reasonable price.

Here's a tip to Microsoft Research: try doing some research first.

* IAAANR. (I am an annoyed network researcher.)

Old Hat for Cradlepoint (1)

m3rck (1110319) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284584)

I did this for Cradlepoint 2 years ago. We call it "Load Balancing". Plus, instead of just cellphones, you can use almost any 3G modem and WiMax device. It also has the capability to balance with the wire. It's funny that this took 3 to 5 year for Microsoft to develop. I did it in 2 months.

If only I could (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284682)

attach to multiple free wifi hotspot I see from my room ...

You can! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30301032)

You can, but you'll either need a separate PC loaded up with network adapters acting as a router or you'll have to jam WiFi adapters into every orifice of your current computer. Look up load-balancing under Linux, and pfSense.

Bandwidth isn't the problem. (2, Informative)

merreborn (853723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30285090)

It's not the bandwidth. It's the latency.

Ping on a cell connection runs around 200 ms, in my experience. *That's* the part that makes tethering suck -- with pages requiring dozens of images and javascript files these days, waiting for a 200ms round trip for each request adds up FAST.

Re:Bandwidth isn't the problem. (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30287992)

Only if you have a browser that isn't capable of pipelining requests. Which most can these days.

Re:Bandwidth isn't the problem. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291416)

Ping on a cell connection runs around 200 ms, in my experience.

Verizon Rev-A EVDO does a bit better (most of the time) here:

$ ping 4.2.2.6
PING 4.2.2.6 (4.2.2.6) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=1 ttl=46 time=115 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=2 ttl=46 time=106 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=3 ttl=46 time=92.3 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=4 ttl=46 time=111 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=5 ttl=46 time=90.6 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=6 ttl=46 time=94.7 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=7 ttl=46 time=107 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=8 ttl=46 time=124 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=9 ttl=46 time=89.1 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=10 ttl=46 time=118 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=11 ttl=46 time=97.5 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=12 ttl=46 time=177 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=13 ttl=46 time=92.7 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=14 ttl=46 time=91.9 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.6: icmp_seq=15 ttl=46 time=91.0 ms

--- 4.2.2.6 ping statistics ---
15 packets transmitted, 15 received, 0% packet loss, time 14009ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 89.191/106.751/177.634/21.950 ms

Instant WiFi access? (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30285902)

I can see it now, people will buy phones to make instant WiFi access to download illegal stuff, and then kill it as quick as it was created, leaving little tracebility to who downloaded what. And this could then put people at risk for being responsible for illegal downloads that they may not have actually had a hand in.

Just a what if thought...

moD do5wn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30286880)

Don't get your hopes up. (1)

SkOink (212592) | more than 4 years ago | (#30287356)

Microsoft Research is an awesome entity that produces a ton of cool things. Have you ever poked around on their website? It's got a ton of cool projects like this one. I wouldn't get your hopes of ever seeing this turn into a real product - just because somebody in MS Research is working on it doesn't mean that Microsoft has any plans to use it for anything. I'm convinced that the primary purpose of MS Research is to employ people so that they don't go work for Microsoft's competitors.

worked on this last year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290106)

I actually worked on a system like this for my thesis at UCL (London) along with 3 other group members. We used USB dongles connected to laptops which combined their 3G bandwidths and offered it through a WiFi access point located on one of the laptops. We actually did manage to aggregate bandwidth and offer the sum of what was individually available. However, our solution was not polished as we had to complete the project in about 4 months. But it did work :)

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