Multipeer Connectivity Framework – Say what?

How many of us have heard of this? I know I didn’t until I read an article about it in the Herald Sun newspaper.

What is Multipeer Connectivity Framework?

Multipeer Connectivity Framework is an app that let’s people communicate, who are located nearby, without using using the internet. It searches for and uses infrastructure that is available (including Wi-Fi networks, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth personal area networks). Think of it like a necklace – it has links – however small they are, but joined up and you get different sizes until you reach the destination – or the other end where you connect the first part of the necklace together. This type of connection is called mesh networking, and, as you can see, this ability could make it quite useful in various situations. I know my husband is always complaining about connections whenever we go to a mall (or shopping centre) because of the high traffic of connections. I believe this would probably suit him.  We have not tried this out, as yet, but I wanted to bring this to everyone’s attention.

Wireless mesh networking

Wireless mesh networking – from Wikipedia

When’s it available?

Its part of the iOS 7 in late March 2014, so its available now.

Is it only for talking or can you use apps?

As I’ve stated above, I haven’t use this yet – I’ve been too busy to trial it. However, the article “iOS 7’s Multipeer Connectivity framework lets you communicate with people without an internet connection” by Jason of iPhoneHacks, states “The best part of course is that Multipeer Connectivity is available on most devices running on iOS 7, so apps can easily piggyback on this technology to create peer-to-peer networks for various purposes.” He also states that AirDrop (a file sharing program that uses this connectivity) is available and it operates the same way. If you want more information please take a look at his article linked above.

Are their other apps using this technology?

Upon finding out about this framework, the above question got me to thinking – are there more? I know I sound like someone thinking about aliens, but you never know and usually if there is one product out there, there are usually more, so I went searching……and found FireChat which is a new mobile messaging application (which does the same – uses no internet).

Fire Chat - uses Multipeer Connectivity Framework

FireChat screens

I went looking for other applications, but other than the ones I’ve mentioned, at the moment, there are no other commercial apps I could find. However, I bet its an emerging technology based upon a SlideShare presentation I’ve seen (warning this could be a bit technical for some readers).  I can only imagine what can be done in instances of emergency when the cell or mobile towers fall (thinking September 11 type of incident) and you need to get word out about your safety or help you need. These types of applications will be great for those times.  Further, I believe from my readings, these types of grid networks can’t be hacked into very easily by spies and others that want to cause harm to everyday people, including governments who try to stomp on free speech. Then there are the third-world countries where calling and plans are just too expensive, this would make it not so expensive. I believe this is a good future use of technology; however, with the good comes the bad as is always the case – unfortunately.

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