“If we could do it, we could build a completely decentralized version of our current internet,” Hendricks says in HBO’s Silicon Valley.
In the latest pivot of a startup Pied Piper in Silicon Valley, Hendricks proposed to “use a peer-to-peer network built atop every smartphone on the planet, effectively rendering huge data centers full of servers unnecessary.” This is not just a futuristic concept. It is almost here.
Seoul-based startup Anyfi has come out of stealth with a mission to revolutionize last-mile telecommunications through the power of peer-to-peer mesh networks.
If you’ve been to highly-crowded areas or large venues, chances are that you have experienced particularly slow cellular internet connection or frequently disconnecting and reconnecting WiFi networks. Anyfi provides a perfect enterprise solution to solve this problem.
Anyfi is a software-defined wireless network of user devices and access points for the enterprise WiFi networks. Devices running the Anyfi SDK (software development kit) function as WiFi repeaters, relaying internet signal to vastly expand the network reach. High-performance and total coverage can be achieved with fewer Access Points at a fraction of the cost of traditional WiFi. (Demo video here)
“Modern telecommunication is infrastructure-intensive and monopolistic. But it doesn’t have to be this way; there is a treasure-trove of bandwidth locked away in people’s smartphones. Literally, the power to disrupt telecommunications has been in our pockets all along,” Co-founder and CEO Do Kwon said.
During the interview, Kwon shared that the ideation of Anyfi started when he was serving his military duty as a telecommunication specialist in the Republic of Korea Army, where mesh network is widely used for tactical communication. Seeking to apply the mesh network technology to our daily lives, Kwon built the first prototype at the internal hackathon event during his short stay at Microsoft after graduating from Stanford in 2015.
Kwon chose Seoul as Anyfi’s starting point, leveraging South Korea’s strength in telecommunications technology, generous governmental startup funds and relatively low burn rate. Anyfi is pioneering the new segment of peer-to-peer mesh network and Kwon expects it to be in it for the long-haul. Kwon and his team of 7 have been mainly focusing on R&D of core technology for the past year.Today, Anyfi offers SDK for large venues, such as amusement parks, shopping malls, and public transportation systems. Anyfi estimates that in venues with high user density, its software can cut down the number of required Access Points by 60% while achieving the same level of coverage. The SDK currently supports Android, with iOS and Windows scheduled to launch towards the end of summer. Anyfi SDK is currently being rolled out in a mobile application of Everland Amusement Park in South Korea, which receives 8 million annual visitors.
Kwon noted that enterprises are excited about Anyfi as WiFi mesh network not only improves customer experience, but also leads to new sales channels and data analytics of consumer behavior.
The product has been well-received by the tech community and is trending as top 3 on ProductHunt. One of Anyfi’s hunters commented, “Cool concept of using smartphones as dynamic, mobile WiFi routers. Could see a lot of potential for it to be used in developing regions, large venues, and populated areas. Could this be the future for all WiFi?”
Anyfi is exploring ways to move beyond the limitations of current WiFi networks. Industry-wide application of this technology in mobile and IoT fields will be groundbreaking.
Imagine a world with Anyfi SDK in the Facebook mobile application, for example — instant mesh network created with billions of Access Points.
It’s also worth noting that Anyfi will be announcing several blue-chip launch partners in entertainment, public transportation, and telecom in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.