Thursday, 27 March 2014

The App That lets You Chat Without An Internet OR Phone Connection

The FireChat app, pictured, uses Apple's iOS 7 Multipeer Connectivity Framework to turn create a network of phone users without using mobile signal

FireChat uses hidden iOS feature to relay messages
·         The iOS 7 feature is called Multipeer Connectivity Framework (MCF)
·         It creates what's called a wireless mesh, or peer-to-peer, network
·         Instead of sending messages using a mobile signal, the free app creates its own network where each mobile on it becomes a 'node'
·         This means people in close proximity can message other nodes
·         Messages are also sent over long distance by relaying data from one node to another anonymously
Buried within the settings of Apple’s iOS 7 is a feature that could revolutionise how we communicate.
Called the Multipeer Connectivity Framework (MCF), it lets you send messages and photos even when a person has no signal.

Now a group of developers has created a free iPhone app called FireChat that takes advantage of this feature - and it even works over long distances.

The FireChat app was developed by the crowdsourced firm Open Garden. When a user opens the app, they can pick a screen name to start sending messages. 
Within the app there are 'chatrooms' with 'Everyone' and 'Nearby' options. 
The former will search for all users, while the latter option applies to people within Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range who are also using the app.

This is particularly useful when on a plane, or the underground. It can also be used to save money on data plans, for example. 
Apple added MCF to its iOS 7 software last year. 

It creates what is called a wireless mesh network that connects phones to each other.

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