We need the internet more than ever these days. Who among us doesn’t get a shiver up the spine at the thought of losing access to their navigation app – just as they’re speeding down the highway in an unfamiliar city? Or missing a crucial deadline because the WiFi that was promised on the train turns out to be nothing more than a phantom selection in a dropdown menu?
While the world grows more reliant on having on-demand internet at every possible moment, our existing internet infrastructures haven’t kept pace with our increased dependency on connectivity.
Bottlenecks, lags, and dead spots have become one of the most common and annoying nuisances in our everyday lives. Shouting “The internet’s down!” in a busy workplace is the modern-day equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded movie theater. And it’s happening more than ever. If the era of dial-up internet was Web1.0, the last decade-and-change of broadband and 4G was Web2.0—it’s awkward, yet promising, adolescence.
In the world of Web3.0, the time has come for how we access the internet to finally grow up. If you have noticed though, no one’s taking up the challenge. There’s good news though: Magic is a new distributed project attempting to change that.
Practically everywhere you go, there’s data in the air—whether it’s coming from cellular networks, private WiFi, or other sources like 5G and LPWAN. The problem is that it’s hard to tap into all that information when you need it. That’s because, up until now, the internet has existed as vast system of walled gardens in the form of thousands of private networks that are all kept under lock and key, usually by limiting password access to trusted users.
It’s a model that works…sort of. But there are a host of problems with this system: it’s inconvenient, it leads to tons of wasted bandwidth, and it’s not nearly as secure—or as private—as we’d like to think it is. You’re not using the WiFi at the local coffee shop to do anything even remotely private, right?
How many times have you found yourself on your phone, in a cellular dead-zone, unable to see if that important e-mail just arrived because you don’t know the password for the nearest WiFi network? It’s a problem so common that we take it for granted.
Now imagine a different system—one in which all that internet was made available in a cooperative way, allowing you to tap into it—or even to share it—seamlessly and without hassles, no matter where you are. Imagine being able to jump painlessly from one connection source to a better one as it becomes available, without having to waste your time scrolling through access points trying to find the network that will actually let you in.
Magic is here to take care of that. “Right now, using the internet is like traveling internationally in the early 1900s,” says Benjamin Forgan, founder and CEO of Hologram, Magic’s parent company. “Your data departs via horse, or car, or train, or boat and stop in numerous ports of call. You show your ID at each stop, and sometimes you have to travel through some pretty dangerous spots to get to your destination. Magic is like a teleport for data, by contrast. Your data travels safely from point to point in the fastest, most economical way possible.”
Magic is a service that creates a network of networks, allowing anyone—from big service providers to everyday people with WiFi routers—to grant connectivity to anyone else who needs it, automatically negotiating access based on demand and quality of service, with everything facilitated using a simple client app. In the Magic ecosystem, the line between a provider and a user will be erased: you can give out internet when you have it, and use it when you need it.
If all that sounds scary, it’s not. Privacy and encryption is baked into every Magic connection, ensuring that devices stay in their own lane on your network when a provider, and that the networks you connect to as a user can’t go snooping around in your stuff.
And people won’t just be giving out their internet out of the kindness of their own hearts. Instead, they’ll get compensated for access based on the service and speed they provide, while consumers pay seamlessly for only the service they use and need. It’s a system that’s completely different from the current pay-for-play services that are currently out there—rather than having to get out your credit card every time you want to join a network, everything’s negotiated behind the scenes.
Gone will be the days of frantically scrolling through networks trying to find one that’s available, or sweating bullets as you try to connect to an access point that’s being finicky—Magic will take care of all that for you automatically. And all this increased connectivity won’t just facilitate seamless internet connectivity when you’re on the move: it also means that all that wasted bandwidth that’s floating around in the ether suddenly becomes available, making the internet faster and more reliable for everyone.
“When Magic becomes the predominant means of connecting to the internet, the most noteworthy thing will be how not noteworthy it will seem,” says Forgan. “Everyone and everything will simply have connectivity by default. You won’t even have to think about it. You’ll never waste a day of your life waiting for someone to install a cable connection in your new apartment. You’ll just be connected; the internet will just work.”
In other words: the internet is all grown up and ready for the big time. To learn more, head to magic.co.
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