WiFi running free

Students at Southampton University have developed a community-based wireless network that will enable residents in Portswood and Highfield to benefit from free internet access in their homes.


Students at  Southampton University have developed a community-based wireless network that will enable residents in Portswood and Highfield to benefit from free internet access in their homes.



The research is part of the Southampton Open Wireless Project (SOWN) led by students and staff in the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS).



SOWN is currently investigating the technologies and infrastructure needed to deploy effective WiFi network coverage in a domestic area.



The team has already deployed wireless nodes in student houses around the Highfield Campus. These nodes link up to a full-scale network around the community, so any bandwidth left over can be used for community access to the network.



Residents can gain access by obtaining a free account from SOWN.



Stuart Harland, ECS student, said: ‘Relying on community involvement has allowed SOWN to deploy its network in hard-to-reach places, as well as giving internet access to large swathes of student areas around the city.’



The team is also working on research on developments in wireless technology, which includes multicasting audio and video streams, 802.1x authentication, wireless VoIP and location-based services.



SOWN hopes to gain information on testing wireless devices, implementation of hardware and software solutions, and increase its technical knowledge.