The coronavirus has exposed the digital divide like never before, so much so that Internet poverty is said to be the new frontier of development.
According to the World Economic Forum, 3.7 billion people do not have internet access. Globally, only 55% have an internet connection, based on UNESCO’s data. In the developed world, 87% are connected compared with 47% in developing nations, and just 19% in the least developed countries.
One of the reasons is that the current technology and infrastructure are too costly to connect the unconnected, especially those in remote areas. Yet, this internet poverty must be eradicated so communities can change their future, regardless of background, color, or religion.
Dr. Hatim Zaghloul is one of the influential figures that is driving this change. He has teamed up with Dr. Amr Albanna who has made a breakthrough in Wi-Fi Technology, he has come up with a technology that has proven to make Wi-Fi more stable, reliable, and consistent.
I spoke both to Dr. Amr and Dr. Hatim about what their partnership means in connecting the unconnected.
Dr. Hatim Zaghloul said, “ Dr. Amr’s solution. WiFiSOON, is a very important piece of the puzzle in the technology that Futira and Inovatian are trying to bring. It will help us in connecting the remote areas around the world by making WiFi feel like a regular mobile system.” Futira and Inovatian are Dr. Hatim’s companies involved in providing internet access via blockchain technology.
With over 25 years of experience in wireless technology, Dr. Amr Albanna (“Dr. Amr”) ran the wireless networks of a major operation. Dr. Amr ran the wireless networks for Major Operators in the US like AT&T and T-Mobile in Los Angeles. With several patents in the wireless technology capacity and optimization, Dr. Amr saw the potential in Wi-Fi access technology and how it can be the next-generation wireless service platform, and that is why he built WiFiSOON. Dr. Amr also has several patents and publications under his name.
WiFiSOON which makes Wifi as good as, if not better than, cellular traffic. It is proven to give you ten times faster connectivity on your WiFi. WiFiSOON basically stands for WiFi Self Organizing and Optimizing Network Solution, It helps Wi-Fi users get a better Wi-Fi experience by addressing Wi-Fi Roaming (Mobility), band Steering (Layer Management), and frequency planning (Channel Selection).
This may sound like jargon to most non-technical people but it is a game changer that could change how connectivity is delivered in the future.
In order to understand the potential that WiFiSOON brings you must understand the challenges and limitations of the existing WiFi technology. Most of us take WiFi connections for granted and never really care much about the development of technology. In actual fact, Wi-Fi is still underdeveloped and the potential is untapped.
“The Wi-Fi technology has been around for several decades, The technology and standards are very slow and Wi-Fi is pretty slow until it uses high-speed modulation and starts using high-speed transfer. Wi-Fi – the way it is built into the routers and the phones does not fully utilize the full capability,” said Dr. Amr.
While Wi-Fi on the other hand can be a quick and cost-effective solution to connect the unconnected, which is half of the world’s population.
More importantly, it can solve the problem that is faced by the telecommunication industry which is burgeoning cellular traffic. There is much research on this, and one of the economical solutions is offloading the traffic to Wi-Fi. Using Wi-Fi as a means of communication also lowers the battery consumption on devices.
The only reason that this has not happened yet is because of Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi operates on what is known as “Break before Make”. This means, unlike a cellular that is intelligent enough to connect to the strongest signal available, Wi-Fi would disconnect from an access point if it becomes too weak.
This is something even a layman can relate to. Just imagine that you work in a building, your office is on the second floor, and you are called to the CEO’s office on the tenth floor to help with preparing some documents. You are using Wi-Fi to access all your files in the cloud.
However, your phone or laptop is connected to the access point on the second floor. so what would usually happen is that you will lose your connection to the access point because you are out of range. You have to manually connect to the access point on the tenth floor. Most of the time, for expediency’s sake, you’ll use your data on your cellular network to connect to the cloud to access your file.
Maybe this explains why 80% of cellular traffic is generated indoors when you have Wi-Fi in most places now.
“The figure of 80% was before the pandemic, and after the pandemic, this percentage might have jumped to 85% or 90%. Imagine 90 % of your traffic is created indoors so your cellular tower that is required to transmit power into the building penetrates through the walls,” Dr. Amr explained further.
“The same thing applies to the device. The phone has to transmit very high power to penetrate the walls to the outside to reach the tower which consumes a lot of battery and radiation which affects human health.”
Wi-Fi did not take the attention of network operators before and with the emergence of WiFi offloading where companies want to use WiFi instead of 4G to ease the congestion on 4G., it is cheaper to use WiFi than to use cellular data.
“WiFiSOON is just a better way of managing your Wifi connectivity from the device side, so no matter what your access point or your router version or generation could still get better performance from your Wifi by doing multiple things handing over between two access points.”
“Handing over from the 2.4 to the 5 gigahertz channel will give you much better performance if your router has these two bands, even if you have only a single band access point it will help you get a much better channel that is least interfered with this will guarantee better performance,” Dr. Amr elaborated further.
“WiFiSOON basically just fast forward Wi-Fi technology by several decades. Now with being connected to Wi-Fi, you will have a much better experience connected to Wi-Fi where you will have much faster throughput and more stable connectivity. The spillover benefits are you would use less power and transmit less radiation,” said Dr. Amr.
Dr. Amr went on to say, “The amazing thing is this breakthrough technology to make your Wi-Fi intelligent and seamless is placed in an app that you can download to your phone. The fact there are thousands of apps there makes people a little bit skeptical about its capabilities.”
“As for privacy, we don’t collect any information about the user. WiFiSOON app doesn’t know what the user’s phone is or any personal data at all. WiFiSOON just helps them get the best signal available. The data is completely anonymous, we don’t connect it to the user, We don’t collect, we don’t measure, and we don’t store any personal information of the user.”
“This is not just another wifi technology. The problem with Wi-Fi is it has this reputation that it’s free and nobody necessarily cares if it does not work, but in reality, with all the 5G and other things coming up with gaming, streaming, and wifi calling, Wifi is not a trivial solution anymore”, concluded Dr. Amr.
Dr. Hatim, when asked about his plans for WiFiSOON, explains, “We, at Inovatian, are using Wi-Fi to build complete operators, which increases the need for WiFiSOON, the timing is just perfect. Inovatian’s mission is to connect the unconnected.”
“It is an invaluable tool to telco operators. It will make WiFi feel very much like 4G, it increases the speed of the internet by up to ten times and makes calls seamless and without interruption, so it is a very valuable tool for operators. We plan to incorporate WiFisoon to complement our technology”, Dr. Hatim further elaborated.
WiFiSOON and Inovatian are talking with multiple operators and phone companies about making the technology the industry standard.
“It is not just another Wi-Fi technology. It is changing how you use Wi-Fi. That’s why we call it “Rediscover Wi-fi”. It is having a different experience with WiFi, more stable, reliable, and consistent,” concluded Dr. Hatim.
Dr. Hatim’s company, Inovatian, will use WiFiSOON to deploy internet connectivity in remote areas as a cheaper alternative to accessing cellular data.
Shahfizal Musa is the Founder and Managing Editor of Halalop. He graduated with a Law degree from Thames Valley University London. He is an award-winning journalist covering topics such as human trafficking, Muslim research discoveries, and exceptional Muslims.
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