What if, when you were up at a ridiculous hour Skyping your relatives in Australia, you could borrow unused bandwidth from your sleeping neighbors to make your own broadband connection faster and stronger?
High up in a glass tower in Barcelona, Telefonica's research and development team has been attempting to tackle exactly this question. The solution they have come up with, BeWifi, is a technology that gathers bandwidth from local Wi-Fi routers in order to enhance the connection of the users that happen to be on the Internet at exactly that moment in time.
Telefonica started to research the idea, without making changes to existing infrastructure, in 2008. "We were exploring what would be the opportunities for bringing the peer-to-peer and sharing phenomenon into this arena," Pablo Rodriguez, Telefonica's Director of Product Innovation and Research, told Wired.co.uk.
"Your broadband connection is not used 100 percent of the time," he explained. "If you bring [connections] together smartly and manage to aggregate the spare capacity...[it's] a much better customer experience."