When Blockchain Technology and Mesh Networking Collide

From the very start, blockchain technology was revolutionary. The concept alone is groundbreaking, with entirely new kinds of industry — cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, document verification — emerging within months of the original Bitcoin whitepaper’s publication. What has been less obvious, however, are the practical, day-to-day uses for blockchain technology.

Forget about the potential, the speculation, and the hype. What about a practical application for blockchain technology that actually works here and now? That’s easier said than done. We should know, because we’ve spent years building a blockchain-based system to solve a real-world problem.

Our idea at Ammbr is simple: To create a marketplace for telecommunications services that is open to anyone, and not controlled by the big players. For most people in the developed world, access to the internet is controlled by a handful of fixed line and mobile service providers. Those providers have almost all the power, while customers have virtually none. In some regions, the lack of an affordable, reliable provider often means that locals can’t access the internet at all.

There’s already a reliable solution to this problem. It’s called “mesh networking,” and it allows individuals with internet access to share a portion of their connection with nearby users. It’s a proven model, having been adopted first as a military application before being adapted as both a commercial and community networking solution. In the Internet of Things (IoT) era, mesh networks may soon become an essential part of daily life.

But there’s a serious problem with mesh networks: They generally don’t scale well. Every node that is added to the network eats away at the available bandwidth, slowing connection speeds to a crawl. Getting around this problem requires specialized hardware for offloading traffic across multiple spectrum bands and multiple backhaul connections. The Ammbr Mesh Router is our solution to this problem.

Making this solution economically viable, however, requires a different kind of innovation. Thankfully, we have the blockchain. Imagine a decentralized internet service provider, with individual nodes contributing to the total bandwidth. Users can access the internet easily, paying only for the bandwidth that they use through a dedicated cryptocurrency that can either be purchased (directly or through an exchange) or mined using low-power, mobile-friendly ASICs that are both inexpensive to buy and easy to use.

In a nutshell, this is the idea behind the Ammbr Mesh Network. It’s not just a novel combination of mesh networking and blockchain technologies, it’s a real product that we’ve spent countless hours designing, testing, and refining. There’s still an incredible amount of work to be done before Ammbr is ready for launch, but we’ve never been more excited about our project.