In its early years, the Internet was a completely decentralized and unregulated virtual space — and that was its intended purpose. However, with digital communications entering the mainstream in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Internet eventually evolved away from that model, becoming centralized, monitored and controlled.
What’s next? The answer, according to many tech industry experts, is the rise of the “mesh network“.
A mesh network is like a variant on the already-familiar local area network. Rather than routing communications through centralized servers, devices in a mesh network communicate directly with one another. Though this creates range limitations, mesh networks can be expanded through the use of technologies such as extenders and line-of-sight routers. While most contemporary mesh networks consist of mobile phones, just about any type of connected device can be used.
Mesh networks have been used to facilitate communications in disaster areas where centralized Internet connections cannot be created. While they mesh networks are currently limited in scope and scale, their successful development could eventually herald the return of anonymous, secure, decentralized and deregulated digital communications.
The U.S. State Department is among those leading the charge in the development of mesh networks, as they can be used to facilitate underground political movements in non-democratic countries where online communications are carefully monitored. In the near future, an iPhone app development company could make major inroads by creating software designed for exclusive use on these secure, peer-to-peer networks.
If you’re involved in mobile app development in New York City and you’re interested in applications which circumvent surveillance and regulation, the rise of the mesh network is something you’ll want to watch. While the technology is still in its infancy and is beset by range and reliability problems, analysts have noted its superior security. It may not be long before digital communications once again escape the clutches of suppressive regulation.Tags: cellular network, distributed network, free wifi, internet freedom, internet privacy, internet tech, mesh network, mobile network, telecom, wifi system