By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
It has indeed been a long time since we last heard from Google’s network-of-networks service dubbed Project Fi – but now it seems Google is back with more enhancements. One of them may be a significant step in the direction of ‘gapless’ converged Wi-Fi and mobile services.
There really is not a lot of detail about Google Project Fi’s new connectivity enhancement feature but here is what Dan Chak, Project Fi product manager says in his latest blog entry released yesterday:
“Our enhanced network automatically detects when your Wi-Fi connection becomes unusable and then fills in those connection gaps with cellular data. If you’ve ever left your house and walked toward your car, you might have noticed your connection slows or even stops altogether as your phone clings to a weakened Wi-Fi connection. With our enhanced network, you’ll have a seamless connection on the go, and waiting to be reconnected becomes a thing of the past. In our testing, we’ve reduced the time without a working connection by up to 40 percent,” writes Dan Chak of Google.
It does sound as if some form of aggregation of Wi-Fi and cellular data streams is involved, similar perhaps to what Apple talked about last year regarding TCP Multipath. The more likely possibility is that this is some form of proprietary technology of which – as far as we know – only two (possibly three) current providers exist. One is Carnegie Technologies and the other is Speedify.
No word from either whether they are involved in Project Fi at this point. Whatever the origin of the feature: It is an important step towards a gapless mobile plus Wi-Fi service fabric. And that means a big step up in subscriber satisfaction.
Google Project Fi also launched a VPN service yesterday, which should offer frequent users of public (or private) Wi-Fi peace of mind. Henceforth it is possible for all traffic – whether Wi-Fi or cellular – to and from Project Fi devices to be encrypted for maximum security. Both features will be available to Project Fi subscribers later this week, Google said.