With high data rates still causing headaches for consumers, many are searching for ways to access wireless internet by different means while outside of the home.
Web3’s promising solution to this is something called decentralized WiFi OpenRoaming, but before we introduce the details, we will review the main limitations of traditional WiFi coverage which this new technology aims to overcome.
Current WiFi Setbacks
Two primary issues have prevented widespread WiFi connectivity outside of the home: the lack of availability and the lack of automatic connections when switching to new networks (as is the case with cellular internet usage).
Regarding availability, free public WiFi coverage outside of businesses is still sparse, with people being forced to visit stores in order to access the internet while out of the home.
Although ISPs offer WiFi networks they deem ‘public’ this is only the case insofar as the networks can be accessed in public places. But ISPs typically gatekeep these networks with passwords so that only their clients can access them. This creates fragmented groups of users who can only access the networks provided by the ISPs or businesses for which they are clients, leaving truly widespread, and truly public coverage non-existent.
Lack of Automation
The lack of automatic connectivity when switching networks or accessing a new one is also a major issue with seamless WiFi coverage. Users typically still have to tap through WiFi Passpoint menus or enter login information before connecting to WiFi, making public network access a hassle, and eliminating the change of seamless, continuous coverage akin to cellular connections.
Both phenomena mentioned above suggests that traditional corporate WiFi deployment models are not well equipped to build truly public, or truly widespread networks: profit concerns and competition between ISPs have seemingly stunted the expansion of public WiFi coverage by gatekeeping access to them, and by disincentivizing the integration of separate networks for WiFi roaming, which enables automatic connections to new networks.
Web3’s Solution to WiFi Expansion
Decentralized OpenRoaming addresses both the above limits to public WiFi deployment by integrating local WiFi networks while encouraging coverage expansion through mining opportunities and tokenomics.
WiFi OpenRoaming simply refers to the ability to automatically switch connections between local networks provided by different ISPs, even when a device is connecting to one or both local networks for the first time.
With an OpenRoaming credential on their device, a user could automatically roam across WiFi networks without having to manually enter login info at any point. This merging of different networks could enable truly widespread, continuous, and seamless WiFi connectivity worldwide.
The Need for Decentralization
However, as mentioned above, ISPs lack an incentive to integrate each other’s competing networks to grow availability for everyone, which is why OpenRoaming deployment must be implemented in a way that instead incentivizes the integration and the installation of new local, OpenRoaming-compatible networks. In other words, deployment must be decentralized so that competing local network providers do not emerge and begin gatekeeping their networks.
Leading this enterprise of decentralized OpenRoaming deployment is Web3 project MetaBlox, whose WiFi routers create such local networks across which anyone can roam seamlessly with a Decentralized Identity OpenRoaming credential (or DID).
To access this OpenRoaming network (consisting of integrated local networks), anyone can create a DID for their device on the MetaBlox app, which is available for iOS and Android.
Importantly, MetaBlox’s routers will mine tokens while establishing WiFi connections, so individuals are incentivized with ongoing rewards to purchase and deploy them. Moreover, public deployments are encouraged by these routers — known as MetaBlox Miners — because the more WiFi connections they establish, the greater their yields. Currently, mining rewards are points that will become redeemable for tokens after the project’s IDO in 2023.
Through such mining opportunities, MetaBlox’s WiFi OpenRoaming deployment model encourages ongoing expansion of public WiFi coverage, overcoming the issue of network gatekeeping by centralized providers.
Read more about mining with MetaBlox, or order your miner now.
MetaBlox and The Wireless Broadband Alliance
MetaBlox’s decentralized OpenRoaming network (provided by its miners) is also a part of the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s larger OpenRoaming network. That means anyone with a DID credential from the MetaBlox app can access WiFi automatically at over 2 million locations. These local networks are provided by a range of the alliance’s other members besides MetaBlox.
To achieve open, seamless, and widespread WiFi coverage, a new network deployment model must be implemented: token incentivized, decentralized deployment. By encouraging continuous OpenRoaming growth instead of network gatekeeping, this method can create cellular-level internet roaming capabilities at far lower costs than data.
Visit MetaBlox’s social media and community channels for the latest updates on decentralized WiFi OpenRoaming!