connect / 2019

Free WiFi & Internet of Things Connectivity

Free WiFi & Internet of Things Connectivity

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by M2M Bell

Our initial focus will be low data rate "things", followed by higher data rate voice and video. The patented technology we've developed has won IEEE and a Google Research Awards after demonstrations in Barcelona and Philadelphia. Now we need to complete the coding, adding rules for mobility, and rules for devices people already own. We need WiFi research hardware, as well as the hardware that will create the first base station antennas at USC, the LA Chamber and the LA Cleantech Incubator.


What does your organization do?

Our mission is to build a wireless Public Utility that would be paid for by the companies that make the devices we buy. The network will be autonomous, and so the antennas can be owned by anyone.

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • M2M Bell
  • Marshall School, USC
  • Viterbi School, USC
  • The Bixel Exchange at the LA Chamber of Commerce

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

I grew up in northern New Jersey where my dad was an AT&T executive, so I knew all of the reasons that the phone company existed as a public utility. Customer proprietary network information (CPNI) is still the law of the land but unfortunately, the Trump FCC reversed the Obama FCC’s Title II decision that would have made the law applicable to data networks. Regardless, M2M Bell can and will enforce our telecommunications laws because we will be the first packet network which can perform at the quality level of the old telephone networks, which never had security and performance issues because of the Quality of Service (QoS) between the Central Office and our homes

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To date, unfortunately, the only lives that have been impacted positively are the ones which have completed the previous research, where they won awards from the Spanish government, as well as from Alcatel and Vodafone. This helped those engineers get better jobs, or go onto better schools…like Zhang who is now at Stanford after winning awards for demonstrating our technology when he was at Bucknell.

Previous attempts to commercialize the technology included three presentations to the Silicon Valley Telecom Council. Invariably, the carriers will tell you that they’re just operators and they don’t make the gear. Then companies like Cisco and Juniper will tell you that it’s true, they make the gear but they don’t design the com chips…to be followed by Qualcomm and Broadcom, who will say, “If it’s not going through standards and if we don’t own the intellectual property, then what is there to talk about?”

We have also sponsored grad student internships after we got our Google Award at USC. Unfortunately, Google didn’t actually come through with the WiFi hardware they’d promised, citing an FCC rule that wouldn’t let their Chinese OEMs ship an unlocked chip to the US. The lives we hope to impact the most, however, are the ones not yet born. Certainly, consumers will benefit across the board, but the end goal is for the next generation to know what it means to have their devices and communications supported by privacy law…just as the US Post Office intended, long before the privacy laws crossed over to telecommunication in the 1930’s.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Access to free wifi
  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Travel time to work

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your project make LA the best place to connect?

Today, when we buy a device we have to give it access through our smart phone to a mobile carrier, or we have to give it access to our home’s WiFi, which is personally identifying. With M2M Bell, connectivity would just be in the air like when you turn on your car radio, where connectivity is just a feature…not a separate service. For the companies that make the devices, this also becomes an advantage because they will have immediate connectivity to their cloud upon first power-up out of the box, which would be hosted on the M2M Bell network. This allows the device to “check in” before the consumer introduces a potentially unsafe device to every other device in their home or business. Once a device is trusted, then the consumer can decide to give it access to traditional networks, or not.

The M2M Bell network also uses half the power needed to transmit data because of our proprietary switching protocol which does not transmit data packets over and over until they go through. This power reduction has far reaching benefits, including a reduction in the data center footprint, a reduction in EMF pollution, and eventually, the elimination of existing routers, which for the first time will not need to be replaced by faster ones.

We will use unlicensed TV airwaves for the long distance mesh core (WiFi and LTE), while using long range Internet of Things radios (Zigbee and LoRa) for the access networks that allow “things” to connect. The access network also uses unlicensed airwaves, so our network is 100% wireless and does not require connectivity to wired network.

The coding that still needs to be completed utilizes a patented, award-winning technology that reduces network overhead from 50% to less than 2%. For the Bucknell demo in Philadelphia, this translated into the antenna’s ability to improve capacity from 1500 to 5700 competing devices. We also have 5G simulations that would allow an antenna to serve 15,000 competing devices.

Once funded, the research can be completed within 3-4 months, and then we will work with other teams at USC in Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain technologies, including USC’s i3 Consortium. The i3 is like a Playstore for live data streams that can be used by the City of LA (a founding member), and the i3 would also be hosted on the M2M Bell network. After 6-8 months, the first antennas will go up for Downtown LA, followed by the City and County.

M2M Bell will be the first wireless data network that gets stronger as it gets larger, because each new device does not add overhead…this is the inverse of today’s switching technology. Our patented technology was originally invented for cable TV, so broadcasting voice and video will be the future applications after the Internet of Things applications.

M2M Bell will be the first wireless data network that can enforce telecommunications harassment, obscenity and privacy laws, which stipulate that all data created by our “things” is owned by us.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

When our first antenna goes live on campus, the other USC tech teams can run their applications within our attached servers. We will then approach the City as a founding member of the i3 Consortium, because the i3 platform is the open data exchange being developed at USC as the City’s IoT platform. Verizon is also in the Consortium, so beating them to the punch in Los Angeles would be a fine measure of success…and of course, they too, can use our technology in their antenna base stations.

Any legacy device using the network would also be considered a success, because that will be the first step to showing OEMs (and the semiconductor companies they buy from), that our technology needs to be embedded in their devices. Consumers and device companies will ultimately find more and more uses for anything that is free and can’t be shut down.

Financial success will be determined by the “LA” metric, and we would expect to have a minimum of six after our first year of operations. In this case, LA stands for Licensing Agreements.