Aba: Mass sharing of information through P2P Ad-Hoc networks
Aba is a an infrastructure-free proximity Peer-to-Peer library that allows multiple Android phones to share data with each other without relying on a carrier, data plan or internet. I’m using this library in the following news app “ZimbabweHub”.
In Zimbabwe looking up news on my phone’s internet connection has always been slow and unreliable. This is due to poor network infrastructure and congested cellphone networks. I addressed part of this issue by creating an Android app, ZimbabweHub (ZH), that downloads online news and shares it with nearby devices that do not have internet.
User 1 has internet and downloads news using the ZH app. User 2 has the ZH downloaded but doesn’t have an internet connection. User 2 can come within proximity of User 1 (up too 100Meters) and receive the news from User 1 without requiring internet. User 3 also has the ZH app but no internet at the time. If user 3 is in proximity with User 2, User 3 can also receive the internet. In short the information spreads virally.
Devices that have the news act as “servers”. Devices that need need news connect to servers as “clients”. When the clients receive news they in turn can act as servers.
However this technology applies to so much more…
In developed regions the infrastructure around crowded spaces makes internet access sometimes unavailable. For example in a large soccer stadium around 30,000 users could be competing for one base station’s bandwith to look up scores and player information from the team’s website, however due to the high congestion of users accessing the same base station internet comes to a crawl.
Aba uses Wifi-Direct to seamlessly and automatically form mesh networks that allow high-speed communication between devices. Wifi-Direct implementation in Android has limits which prevent automatic pairing between nearby devices (users have to put a passcode into a dialog box), I overcame this limit by using “legacy/infrastructure” WiFi to create Ad-Hoc Access Points that only nearby devices could automatically discover and use.
On-going Development with goals to add Bluetooth Low Energy and a general library for others to use.
Alpha Testing (Dec 2015)
Case Study App: ZimbabweHub (news app applying p2p ad-hoc sharing)