Researchers are making available software they say can be used to link nearby computers via Wi-Fi without a router and that someday could be used by cell phone users to make free calls.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology scientists say their WiPeer software (available as a no-cost download at www.wipeer.com) can be used to link computers that are within 300 feet of each other inside buildings to more than 900 feet apart outside.

The wireless link can be used to swap photos, conduct online chats and even transfer a 700MB file in 15 minutes or less, the scientists say.

“We want to bring this to as many people as possible,” says Professor Roy Friedman of the Technion Faculty of Computer Science, in a statement. “When there are two computers in the same room, it doesn’t make sense that they must go out to the Internet to communicate. WiPeer’s main added value is the ability to keep things local.”

Next up is extending it to work with cell phones so that callers can bypass operators and talk to nearby people.



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