An interesting concept brought towards the attention of people who came to the 2003 telecom show is the problem of phones and phone networks for celluar devices. We've all experienced times when the network coverage of our phone is less than ideal whether it be in mountain towns in Switzerland or the seaside in England. We have all heard that putting mobile masts everywhere to provide coverage for mobile phones is not possible because of risks associated with it.
The research is based around the premise that phones can be found almost anywhere within the Arc Lemanic region for example. Each of these people could potentialy be used as both a receiver and sender of data from other people's phone conversations as a relay point. Imagine that you are in a restaurant where there is no signal or the signal is very weak in the section where you are seated. There are at least two or three hundred people around you and they are all carrying a mobile phone with them. Each of these people could serve as a link between you and a mast or the person whom you are trying to contact. This means that rather than be dependent on individual masts which are placed various distances from each other when radio waves no longer go from your phone to the transmitter you are connected through other people who are around you who have a signal.
This technology is particularly useful when in places like the Paleo festival where several thousand people are saturating the single mast providing coverage or in underground trains where there is a loss of signal during part of your trip. It works under the assumption that if one cell is out of action hundreds of others will be there to take it's place providing for a far better coverage for the individual users. At the same time as the user gets better service it may be found that telephony providers like Sunrise, Orange, T-mobile and other networks who have not got appropriate coverage would no longer need to invest vast amounts of money and time in getting permission for masts but would instead be reliant on those who are already using their service.
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Articles by Richard Azia unless otherwise indicated.