All Credits to Evan Feenstra | Original Post –

FogNet is an alternative to today’s internet, based on Bluetooth and the IOTA protocol. Instead of relying on Internet Service Providers, the FogNet is a decentralized network in which data is transferred directly from peer to peer. FogNet “routers” consist of an Arduino and a Bluetooth Low-Energy device, that can connect to a neighborhood mesh of other FogNet routers. Web content can be requested from neighbors, and served across the mesh to any other connected device. Because Bluetooth capability already exists in every computer and smartphone, this network can be utilized by anyone, without the need to set up a personal FogNet router.

The mesh network model

There are many existing mesh networks in the world, but they all rely on the generosity of volunteers to stay running. Using the IOTA cryptographic protocol, FogNet distributes the computational and bandwidth costs of running a network among all participants. Each web request costs a small amount of IOTA, which is split between every FogNet node that takes part in routing the request to its final destination. This destination may be a “gateway node” that is connected to the regular internet (as in the video above). In this way, network participants must contribute as much bandwidth as they consume, or pay for network use with IOTA deposits. This model also prohibits network spamming by malicious actors.

FogNet is a perfect solution for deployment in resource-constrained environments, such as rural villages, inner-city neighborhoods, or refugee camps. For example, in the city of Detroit, 70% of school-age children do not have internet at home, and most of these homes are located in neighborhoods where telecom companies have no plans to invest further in infrastructure. Expanding access to the internet is a global priority under the 9th U.N. Sustainable Development Goal, yet the recent Net Neutrality ruling in the U.S. shows that many areas are actually moving backwards in this regard. Peer-to-peer mesh networks can circumvent the traditional internet entirely, and enable a community-owned model of data access.

Future plans

Currently, the FogNet is focused on serving content from the regular internet onto local mesh networks. The Bluetooth Low-Energy protocol used by FogNet is very lightweight, and uses orders of magnitude less electricity than WiFi. However, BLE is also a lot slower that WiFi. Modern websites can be many megabytes in size, and can take a while to download over BLE. The long-term vision for FogNet is to create a new layer of abstraction on top of the modern web, on which websites are rendered from simple configuration files rather than HTML, CSS, and Javascript. These FogNet “apps” will be much faster to load, and have the inherent ability to perform IOTA micro-payments.

We will be working on an online app builder interface, that will allow anyone to create and serve a decentralized FogNet app without writing a single line of code. FogNet apps will give network participants full ownership over their personal data, and the ability to monetize it. For the first time, writers, artists, and musicians will be able to sell their creative works online without any fees or middlemen. FogNet will also enable a more decentralized model of online advertising, where companies can pay IOTA tokens directly to FogNet users, in exchange for ads being shown on their pages or next to their social media posts. Profits from digital advertising have exploded over the past decade, and this money can finally end up where it belongs: in the hands of the users who are creating valuable social media content, rather than in the hands of tech companies.

The first real use cases for cryptocurrency

We believe that IOTA can democratize the online economy, which has been a dream of geeks and cypherpunks for decades. The IOTA development team is focused on creating solutions for machine-to-machine payments, but the technology works equally well for peer-to-peer value exchange. Like IOTA, FogNet uses a model of enforced altruism, where all participants are required to contribute as much as they benefit from the network. Because its does not use mining, proof-of-stake, or distribution through inflation, IOTA is the only cryptocurrency project that we consider to be truly decentralized (once the network moves past the initial Coordinator stage). The fee-less nature of IOTA token exchange is the reason why we chose to use this protocol, and we plan to integrate more IOTA modules, such as Masked Authenticated Messaging, into FogNet and other web applications in the future.

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