Microsoft Research has released a new software tool which allows a computer to connect to multiple WiFi networks simultaneously. With VirtualWiFi, a single wireless card can appear as multiple virtual WLAN cards. A user may then configure each virtual card to link to a different AP, computer or other device. The application is a prototype project.
The solution may be used in two other applications. The first, called Client Conduit, is useful for fault diagnosis and recovery in infrastructure wireless networks. Client Conduit provides a thin pipe of communication between disconnected clients and back-end servers which perform wireless diagnosis and recovery. The thin pipe is achieved by running VirtualWiFi on the connected clients, and these clients dynamically connect to disconnected clients over an ad hoc network to send messages from them to the back-end servers. Note that VirtualWiFi allows for this thin pipe without requiring the connected client explicitly to disconnect from the infrastructure network.
The second application of VirtualWiFi, called Slotted Seeded Channel Hopping (SSCH), increases the capacity of wireless ad hoc networks using orthogonal channels. The application uses VirtualWiFi to virtualize a wireless card with as many instances as the number of orthogonal channels. It then connects each virtual wireless card on a different orthogonal channel.
For more details on VirtualWiFi:
- see this Microsoft Research Web site | FAQ
- download VirtualWiFi at this Web site
For a detailed discussion of Client Conduit:
- see this white paper (pdf)
For more on Slotted Seeded Channel Hopping (SSCH):
- see this White Paper (.pdf)