You are the Network
The Open Garden Story
The Internet is more than a place to go shopping. Or a way of staying in touch with friends. The universal availability of information results in liberation. Regardless of whether you were born in New York, Shanghai or Cairo, access to the Internet can transform your life.
The world is changing, becoming increasingly interconnected, and it’s happening fast…
Welcome the era of hyperconnectivity.
The further we travel, the more we need connectivity. Yet the further we travel from the broadband routers in our homes and places of work, the patchier connectivity becomes.
The operators sell us fancy handsets, but behave as if broken networks are a fact of life. The shiny lure of smartphones remains the most important weapon in their marketing armoury. Yet we’re frequently prevented from doing precisely the thing for which smartphones were invented.
Mobile networks are like closed gardens, separated by walls. If you own a smartphone from Carrier A and find yourself unable to surf the mobile web, you cannot use spectrum owned by Carrier B, or a nearby fixed line broadband connection owned by Carrier C.
It doesn't have to be like this.
Imagine, instead, if all of the smartphones in any location could use their formidable processing power to share access to the Internet. The result would be an open garden – one without walls. Our handsets would be free to guide each other to the nearest available Internet offramp, regardless of whether it’s a wifi hotspot, a 4G base station or a femtocell.
This is the world as Open Garden foresees it, a world in which we start to ease the chronic congestion on mobile networks.
...by crowdsourcing connectivity.
Founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Micha Benoliel, Internet architect Stanislav Shalunov and developer Greg Hazel, Open Garden is a San Francisco-based start-up dedicated to making the mobile web fit for purpose.
Open Garden’s co-founders share a background in Internet infrastructure and peer-to-peer technology. In 2004-2005, Benoliel worked with Skype, negotiating the deals with European telcos that provided the basis for Skype In and Skype Out, the innovations which allowed Skype to begin generating significant revenue. Shalunov has spent much of his career working on Internet infrastructure, first at Internet2, the US academic networking consortium, then at the peer-to-peer filesharing service BitTorrent. It was at BitTorrent that Shalunov met Hazel, lead developer of the popular BitTorrent client μTorrent, used by more than 200 million peer-to-peer enthusiasts worldwide.
Open Garden Mesh app was launched in Private Beta in February 2012. When downloaded and installed on a smartphone, laptop or other compatible device, the app turns your hardware into a router. Working with similarly equipped devices within a range of approximately 20 meters, the Mesh App then discovers, shares and coordinates access to any available Internet offramp.
With the Mesh App installed, you’re no longer limited to reaching the Internet in ways dictated by your carrier. The walls between closed gardens come tumbling down, and are replaced by an open garden.
By sharing connectivity, we will all be able to connect to the mobile web more frequently and with better results. Join the community: so long as you agree to share with others some of the capacity you’ve bought from the carriers, Open Garden’s Mesh App is free to download, and free to use.
We’re no fans of the walls that surround the carriers’ closed gardens. But we believe that carriers will benefit by joining our open network. By adopting an open business model that supports the growth of intelligence at the edge of networks, they will be able to offer their customers a far better experience. By eliminating the waste that results from the way in which networks operate, the carriers should also be able to generate value for their shareholders.
Individually, we are weak. Together we are strong.
By using Open Garden on our smartphones, we can all play a role in improving connectivity. The promise of hyperconnectivity will be fulfilled when the walls that separate the carriers’ closed garden finally open for the benefit of the industry and all users.
© 2012 Open Garden Inc.