The idea of a mobile internet connection in your car is an attractive one. With the majority of Americans hooked to the internet, the idea of the extra web time is highly appealing. While it might dangerously tempting to driver, the concept has many safe applications. From passengers enjoying surfing the net or VoIP to internet streamed television or radio, there’s a world of opportunity. Even the drivers could benefit from something new to do while waiting in the parking lot at their local grocery store.
To help achieve this vision, an alliance between the University of Massachusetts, Microsoft and the University of Washington have cooked up a new technology they’re call Vi-Fi (Vehicle Wi-Fi). The system aims to provide users with on-the-go internet access more cheaply than existing cellular broadband systems. And it uses some advanced technology to do it.The key to Microsoft’s new system is a steady signal. In Wi-Fi networks, as you travel overland, each signal station (base station) only broadcasts so far, so you have to hop between stations. During these transitions, known as “hard handoffs”, the signal strength typically drops. At best this makes car Wi-Fi unpleasant, and at worst it makes it unworkable.