(Phys.org)—Imagine for a moment you're sitting at your computer at home, staring at the little bar noting the progress of a movie you've decided to download, from a legitimate site of course. You remember seeing all those other Wi-Fi connections your neighbors have going, most of them likely without password protection. If only there were a way to funnel them all together into one stream, giving you unprecedented download bandwidth. Notwithstanding the illegality of sucking bandwidth from your neighbors, it appears a solution is on the horizon.
Alex Gizis, CEO of a company called Connectify has posted a project on Kickstarter whose aim is to create a software product that allows people to pull together multiple Ethernet connections into one, multiplying the amount of data that can be transmitted at once. He calls it Dispatch and to prove that it's for real, he's posted a video demonstrating its capabilities on the Kickstarter page. And fortunately for all of us, it appears he and his company are near their goal of collecting the $50,000 they think they'll need to finish the software and bring it to market.
It doesn't have to be just multiple Wi-Fi signals either; the software can combine a standard wall connection, Wi-Fi, a tethered cell phone or even a mobile data card. It also doesn't appear to have a limit on the number of connections that can be combined, so users would be constrained only by the number of hardware devices they are able to connect to their computer. In the video demo, the team added enough hardware to their laptop to combine all of the available Wi-Fi in their neighborhood (by going up on the roof of their building) and managed to get a 85Mbs connection.
Of course, not everyone is willing to grab whatever Wi-Fi is available, but that doesn't mean they are out of luck. Most users with Wi-Fi at home get their access via cable, thus they could plug in a dedicated cable and still use the built in Wi-Fi to bump up their throughput.
One important thing to note about Dispatch, it doesn't speed up your connection, it just allows more data to pass through to your computer; sort of like turning on two water taps at home to fill a basin, rather than just one. The water runs out at the same speed, but the sink fills twice as fast.
Explore further: Say it with light: Using LEDs to move data faster