We live in a world where data roaming charges are a little exorbitant, and certainly overpriced. People have forever been wanting to start texting without having to pay for a contract, data, or using WiFi.
FireChat is a new travel application, which enables its users to both send and receive text messages – this is done entirely without the use of a data plan, a contract, or even using WiFi. This is all thanks to something which is known as mesh networking.
Mesh networking basically allows users to communicate completely wirelessly. It does this by bouncing the message which is sent from to phone, to another phone – solely using either WiFi or Bluetooth antennas. A WiFi connection is still not required, and it can be performed with users which are just over two-hundred feet away from each other.
If there are no antennas nearby which can be used, or if the recipient is too far of a distance away, messages will be stored until they can be sent. Every single message is securely encrypted, so that only the intended recipient will be able to read them – if someone gains access to the message, they will not be able to make any sense out of it.
Supposedly, this system can take a few minutes to do its work. In some cases, like in dense metro and city areas, it could take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes to complete. However, most users can find this forgivable, since they can use the service without incurring any unwanted roaming charges – it is even useful in remote areas where there is very little coverage, such as planes, trains, and underground systems.
The more people who are using FireChat, the better – according to Skift. As of now, there are only about five million users of the mobile application. The app creators have set an estimate: when 5% of a city’s population has downloaded the application, messages can all be delivered in around ten minutes of less.
Popularity in Iraq
The application, FireChat, was originally designed so that people could get in touch with each other at wildly crowded events, such as festivals. However, FireChat became more useful and popular last year in Iraq, when the country was faced with internet restrictions, people were able to communicate without the connections. It was very practical, since people were still able to make arrangements and see what others were doing, even with the internet restrictions in place.
Although most people will still chose to use other instant messengers, such as Facebook or What’sApp, it is certain that FireChat is very practical. Without needing any connections, FireChat can work literally anywhere at any time – there is no need for any charges, either.