Anyfi

Free SDWN Data Plane for IEEE 802.11

Basic questions What is this?

Anyfi.net is a software extension for Wi-Fi access points that makes them compatible with our Software-Defined Wireless Networking (SDWN) technology. This platform in turn lets service providers integrate access points from different vendors into a unified carrier Wi-Fi solution.

What's the end-user experience?

That's entirely up to the service provider, or whoever runs the controller. The exact same embedded software can be used e.g. to provide remote access to a secure home Wi-Fi network, offload mobile data with end-to-end security and QoE control or integrate e.g. residential gateways into a traditional hotspot network.

So where do I download the app?

There is no app. :) The standard client software that is already installed in every Wi-Fi device is usually sufficient to seamlessly connect to a carrier Wi-Fi service built on Anyfi.net.

So how much does it cost?

Anyfi.net software is available to all vendors in binary form under a no-charge royalty-free license. For source code licenses please contact licensing@anyfi.net.

To use the software you will need a controller. We provide a free community version, restricted to a maximum of 100 access points and virtual networks. For fully supported commercial licenses please contact sales@anyfinetworks.com.

This sounds great — how do I get started?

If you just want to try it out you can download firmware images for a number of popular off the shelf Wi-Fi routers. Once you have some Anyfi.net enabled equipment you can download a controller and step-by-step setup instructions.

If you work for a service provider please don't hesitate to contact sales@anyfinetworks.com. We'll provide you with off-the-shelf access points and walk you through the process.

Technical questions No, really, exactly what is this?

In academic terms Anyfi.net software is the forwarding data plane portion of our Software-Defined Wireless Networking (SDWN) implementation for IEEE 802.11. You can think of it as a sort of "Open vSwitch for Wi-Fi".

In more concrete technical terms it's two userspace Linux daemons that can be integrated in access points and other networking equipment; the radio daemon anyfid and the tunnel termination daemon myfid. They communicate with each other and an SDWN controller over UDP/IP, and together they implement a complete IEEE 802.11 stack.

Like with any Software-Defined Networking architecture the end-user experience is dictated by a control program running inside the controller. We provide control programs for seamless remote access to your favorite Wi-Fi networks, secure mobile offload with SIM authentication and quality of service (QoS) control and traditional homespot and hotspot applications.

How is this different from Hotspot 2.0/Passpoint?

The Hotspot 2.0/Passpoint and Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) initiatives are both based on the newly ratified IEEE 802.11u standard. We see Anyfi.net as an "orthogonal" complement to IEEE 802.11u — Anyfi.net is just a tunneling mechanism that can tunnel any Wi-Fi network, 802.11u ones included.

Combining the technologies can have important benefits in some deployment scenarios. For example, Anyfi.net technology ensures end-to-end encryption by extending the Wi-Fi security mechanism across the backhaul. This is key to using existing residential gateways for secure mobile Wi-Fi offload.

There is however some overlap between the technologies when it comes to network selection and cross-operator roaming. The differences and tradeoffs are in user experience, branding and security. Most imporant is perhaps the security implications of a roaming relationship: with IEEE 802.11u an operator must expose their RADIUS interface and the plain-text communication of their subscribers to their roaming partners (and their partners partners...). With Anyfi.net this is not necessary; each party is fully in control of their own security.

How is this different from FON?

Well FON is a service and Anyfi.net is an enabling technology. A FON-like service (or even the FON service itself) can be built on top of Anyfi.net, by combining the Hotspot SDWN App with a captive portal such as FON's.

Some ISPs see our seamless remote access solution as an alternative to FON. In this case the difference is in the user experience. Our solution requires no manual registration or device side software; it's completely automatic — and just as secure as regular home Wi-Fi. Also, our solution is white label and can be marketed and monetized in any way the operator sees fit.

Can Anyfi.net really support an infinite number of SSIDs?!?

Yes! An access point with Anyfi.net software will typically broadcast networks as "semi-hidden"; i.e. the SSID is not included in the Beacon frame — but Probe Requests from the right STAtions are answered with the SSID appropriate for that STAtion. This dynamic use of the Multi-BSSID Wi-Fi chipset capability is much more efficient and essentially allows one access point to serve hundreds of clients, all with their own impression of the network name.

Integration questions I work for an ISP — how do I get started with Anyfi.net?

You can set up a quick proof of concept in your lab using CarrierWrt, with pre-built firmware images for a number of popular Wi-Fi routers. For turn-key carrier Wi-Fi solutions based on Anyfi.net you should contact Anyfi Networks.

I work for an equipment vendor — how do I get started with Anyfi.net?

Anyfi.net software is easy to integrate — check out the integration guide as a starting point. If you need any help please contact support@anyfi.net.

  1. Basic questions
    1. What is this?
    2. What's the end-user experience?
    3. So where do I download the app?
    4. So how much does it cost?
    5. This sounds great — how do I get started?
  2. Technical questions
    1. No, really, exactly what is this?
    2. How is this different from Hotspot 2.0/Passpoint?
    3. How is this different from FON?
    4. Can Anyfi.net really support an infinite number of SSIDs?!?
  3. Integration questions
    1. I work for an ISP — how do I get started with Anyfi.net?
    2. I work for an equipment vendor — how do I get started with Anyfi.net?