Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, of modem technology, Microsoft has developed a software modem that will have your mobile phone squealing like a 56k modem from decades past.
Developed by Microsoft Research Indian the Dhwani acoustic modem technology allows secure data transmission between all types of mobile phones. Requiring no new chipset or radio hardware the system sidesteps all current NFC (Near Field Communication) standards by simply using the microphone and speaker of the connecting phones. Allowing any phone with a speaker and a microphone to use the technology. Unfortunately the technology won’t talk with current NFC standards and isn’t a direct competitor at all as its only able to transmit small files at the moment.
To use the technology simply load the Dhwani software onto two phones and hold them in close proximity to initiate a file transfer. A modern take of the squealing modem noise will begin, ending once the file transfer is complete. Speeds are still limited with the technology capable of 2.4kbs, 20 times slower than a trusty old 56k modem.
Cleverly the Microsoft engineers have built into the system a form of signal jamming that makes the sharing of information secure. As the sending phone transmits the source signal the receiving phone both listens and talks over the top, generating a random noise that hides the source signal from eavesdroppers. While the random noise generated by the receiving phone may risk ruining the data stream the system is able to cancel out the noise at the microphone, easily done since it generated the random signal.
Will the soundtrack of the 80’s tech world make a comeback or will Dhwani remain an interesting curiosity? Increasing sales of dumb phones may just work in its favour.
Dhwani is undoubtedly a very clever use of the most common hardware across all of the world’s mobile phones. Though here at Highpants we wonder if our ears could withstand entire networks of mobile phones squealing away as they send their P2P network traffic?