Everyone has had the experience of entering a store or subway station, for example, and realizing that the 3G / 4G signal is weak. For situations like these, the Google is testing new technology: O Orion Wifi automatically connects the user’s cell phone to a local wireless network when the mobile phone signal is out of range.
The system is being developed by Area 120, a division of Google that works on experimental projects. Orion Wifi is one of several initiatives that are out there and has everything to be one of the most promising, after all, it tries to solve a problem that is quite common.
The loss of mobile phone signal happens even in regions that have good coverage of 3G or 4G. Structural impediments, like underground subway stations, are the main cause. That is why, in these places, it is common for operators to install antennas to allow their customers to have a signal while using public transport.
However, partnerships between establishments and operators are usually only feasible in very busy places. This is where Orion Wifi’s proposal makes sense: if the cellular signal is weak, the connection is transferred to the local Wi-Fi network without the user having to perform an action to do so – there is no need to enter a password or choose one network in a list, for example.
It is up to the operator’s system to decide whether to connect to Orion Wifi. The transition between the mobile network and Wi-Fi is done automatically and based on some parameters. If the Wi-Fi network is congested, for example, the change will not be made.
For establishments, Orion Wifi can be useful to help move customers. Fees may also be charged to operators for providing the service. For them, the system is a relatively inexpensive way to offer services in locations with signal deficiencies. Eventually, the service may be paid for with an additional fee. The possibilities for commercial exploitation are numerous.
An interesting detail is that, for this type of service to be implemented, it is not necessary to make major changes to the Wi-Fi network already installed on site. In any case, Google is closing partnerships with companies like Cisco, CommScope and Mist to ensure compatibility of equipment with Orion Wifi.
For now, the service is being tested in some public places in the United States. As this is an ongoing project, there is still no information on international expansion.