FREE GIGABIT WIFI FOR EVERYBODY
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How It Works
How to Use Free WiFi
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Free WiFi Roaming
Our goal is to build a city wide WiFi mesh network. Each Wifi Dabba router broadcasts the Wifi Dabba signal automatically. As our network grows, you will start to see the Wifi Dabba signal wherever you go.
If you see the Wifi Dabba network on your phone connect and instantly browse the internet for free.
Wifi Dabba Network
We go high when they go low
Wifi Dabba Supernodes
Our Supernodes are equipped with cutting edge communications tech that allows us to save money by avoiding right of way permissions and issues and helps us pass on those savings to you.
The Supernode Grid
We have partnered with high rise buildings and tower companies to ensure that every person in Bangalore is within 1 km of a Supernode.
From the Grid to Your Home
In the Wild
We ♥ deploying in unique and challenging enviornments
We have battle tested our routers and our software while deploying hundreds of hotspots in the most challenging of conditions.
Chaiwallahs, bakeries and other micro-retailers are the beating heart of commerce in India. We helped bring them and their customers online and helped push digital transactions one step forward across the country.
Auto drivers and more
Auto drivers, pourakarmikas, juice makers, students and salespeople... these are just some of the users that benefit from having WiFi available beyond homes, colleges and offices.
Hundreds of thousands of users have stood near our stores and used Wifi Dabba to book cabs, buy tickets or call their loved ones.
Google Station Wifi Dabba
Google has been successful at providing connectivity at railway stations.
Wifi Dabba and Google partnered to deliver high speed WiFi to market places in Hubli.
We tested different types of advertising models across multiple locations to provide free internet access to merchants in the most crowded markets of Hubli.
Key lessons from this deployment have helped us bring free internet to everybody.
A sample of the dozens of prototypes from our labs.
All roads to great hardware eventually lead to Shenzen. We spend a great deal of time working with designers, suppliers and manufacturers to build the perfect router at an affordable price.
Testing equipment straight out of the factory to the hotel room. Our hardware team works overtime to build the best hardware possible.
How big of a battery can you fit in a router? Is it a good idea to put such a battery in a router?
An early prototype of a router with a battery, a 4g backup, a UPS circuit to power other devices and let's throw in a GHz CPU for fun!
This was an exercise in seeing how small we could make the entire system.
Getting closer to what should eventually ship.
We integrated a tiny wireless router into a power and data cable to create a new form factor for public WiFi deployment. We tested out a 500 m stretch in the heart of Bangalore. Patent pending.
Let's Talk About
To make WiFi free, we reinvented every part of the network stack and business model
WiFi routers are at the heart of the internet access experience today. A router is the core gateway through which all traffic flows regardless of device. You could have the latest and greatest mobile or laptop but your internet experience is going to suck if you have a crappy router.
We spent over a year evaluating dozens of popular routers from well known brands and found that there was room for improvement.
Most routers sold today aren’t designed to give you the best experience/the most efficient experience, they’re designed to be made as cheaply as possible. And there’s very little that differentiates one from the other, apart from brand and name design of outer casing.
The absolute worst routers are the ones that your ISP gives you. They are poor quality and ugly. We can do better, we must do better and we will do better.
When building something in the electronics world, you find that there are two distinct quality levels of components you can use in your device.
In a WiFi router, the most critical component is the System on a Chip (SoC). This is the heart of the device as the quality of this determines the rest. It’s also the most expensive part of the router.
The two main SoC vendors for WiFi chips are Qualcomm and MediaTek. In today’s over-hyped smartphone world, you’ve probably already heard of Qualcomm. They make the latest and greatest smartphone chips better than anyone else in the world. MediaTek is a great company too, however their focus is on providing good performance at a great price point.
Wifi Dabba uses Qualcomm chips in the WD router to provide the fastest and most reliable WiFi experience for you.
A quick note about frequency bands
WiFi is just data encoded over radio waves. Radio waves can operate at different frequencies depending on the distance you want to cover and the amount of information you want to send.
WiFi routers use the 2.4ghz & 5ghz frequency. 2.4ghz has better range but is limited to 60mbps in real world conditions. Phones and laptops made before 2016 tend to only use this one frequency. 5ghz can deliver 500mbps in the real world but its range is limited. Most newer and expensive electronics support both frequency bands.
Pricing of WiFi routers
WiFi routers are expensive because of the additional costs that you as a consumer probably don’t really care about but stil have to pay for.
When you buy a router, you’re paying for import duties, marketing costs, fancy packaging costs, extra features like USB that less than 1% of you are going to use among a raft of other bloatware.
It’s hard to design an epic yet affordable router for normal router makers simply because designing electronics from scratch is really expensive. As a result, once you design a router, you want to sell lots of them to make any money.
This means that each device is required to appeal to as many people as possible which in turn means that each device comes with all features for all users put all together.
Routers today are designed and priced in a way to help the manufacturer, not the consumer.
Wifi Dabba can deliver an epic router at a reasonable price because we can avoid costs like packaging, marketing and extra features all while using the best SoCs.
* Dual band and > 3 antennas + some extra power circuitry + better software
While deploying hundreds of public WiFi hotspots across India we learned that WiFi was the most important service that people wanted, even more than electricity and water. In fact, when the lights go out or the taps go dry, connectivity becomes a crucial requirement to coordinate and solve these problems.
We have put in a tremendous amount of effort into the exploration of the right kind of battery backup required for routers in Indian conditions.
We settled on LiPo batteries as a good balance of price versus time allowing us to provide a backup time of 8 hours.
Mesh and coverage
Physical bariers are the enemy of radio waves. Put a wall between a WiFi router and a device trying to connect to it and expect throughput to drop by half - at least.
The only solution is to place multiple routers. The larger the place, the more routers you’re going to need.
If you put in more routers, you need to share the same internet connection across those routers and coordinate among all the devices connected.
This is called a mesh network. They are great. They offer better connectivity, they cost a lot more. A 3 router mesh costs more than Rs. 15,000 today.
At Wifi Dabba, we have worked hard to design our routers from the ground up to be mesh compatible and to do so at a reasonable price point. If you have a big house or office, we will provide multiple routers that automagically mesh together to give you the best experience.
Traditional ISPs mostly use a software architecture and stack that was designed and built in the 90s.
There’s a heavy reliance on RADIUS as well as the philosophy of one physical internet connection = one person = one bill = one device.
To make matters worse, this rigid system is built on top of hardware sold by the big networking companies that come with their own proprietary software that needs integration.
This results in a massive integration mess coupled with lots of friction between the other software an ISP requires like CRM, billing, security, etc.
Even worse (repetition, consider changing to additionally), the current stack and thought process does not lend itself well to modern requirements like roaming, KYC, APIs and access controls.
We have written a network operations system from the ground up to be bloat-free, fast and extensible for the future.
Dabba OS runs on our routers, other hardware parts of the network and on the Cloud.
It gives us granular control over the packets flowing through the network as well as brings a decentralized approach to fault-tolerance which contributes to better network uptime.
Dabba OS allows us to provide enhanced services like VPNs, bandwidth savers and privacy guards at the network level for individual devices.
Dabba OS also provides APIs and access controls to all users, as well as simplifies the KYC process for getting an internet connection.
Dabba OS enables roaming across the network as well as WANI compliance for roaming across other WiFi networks.
Traditional ISPs cannot roll out an efficient network with 100% coverage in any city because of two fundamental constraints.
The first is right-of-way issues with regard to laying underground fiber. You can only lay fiber in certain areas and in certain lengths. This means that the network cannot be deployed in a manner that covers all areas of a given city. The second constraint is lines tend to be laid by ISPs in areas where they hope customers are willing to pay high prices for an internet connection. This means that lower income areas or sparsely populated areas tend to have poor connectivity.
Better network topology
Wifi Dabba’s network is more efficient and can cover 100% of a required area as our technology does not require underground cables therefore avoiding right-of-way issues.
For our network rollout in Bangalore, we are surveying the elevation levels of the city using drones to map out the best node points for the network while ensuring that all areas are covered regardless of income or population density.
Our goal is to ensure that every single user is within 1 km of one of our Supernodes.
Starting a traditional ISP is incredibly hard and expensive. It requires a lot of hardware, software, manpower, local relationships, licensing as well as customer support and a well oiled on-ground operations team for installation and maintenance. Historically, this has taken hundreds of crores to just get started. When ISPs do start, they usually do so by raising a large amount of debt to pay for the expensive network infrastructure.
Your broadband bill is so much higher than your mobile bill simply because of the quantum of debt the ISP has to pay off. You’re not really paying for bandwidth, you’re paying for debt.
An asset-light, low-cost model
Wifi Dabba's vertically integrated network dramatically lowers the cost of deploying a network thereby allowing savings to be passed on to the user.
More than 90% of all mobile connections in India are prepaid and yet in broadband the prepaid model barely exists.
Wifi Dabba’s technology platform allows us to deploy flexible models to adapt to consumer's needs across the connectivity spectrum.
Regulation and Compliance
Our mission at Wifi Dabba is to lower the cost of high speed internet access. Along with advancing connectivity technology we have worked with regulatory authorities to recommend regulation that benefits the consumer. Wifi Dabba is an ISP license holder.
Wifi Dabba was a proud participant of the WANI trails held by TRAI and is committed to interoperable standards so as to proliferate high speed internet access at low prices.
Wifi Dabba is also committed to helping users retain ownership of their data and track data collection and usage, Dabba OS offers detailed metrics on your internet usage helping you be more aware of where your data lies.
About Wifi Dabba
Wifi Dabba is a low-cost ISP for the next billion users. Our mission is to lower the cost of high speed internet access to bring millions of Indians online.
In 2018, we expanded our network to serve the fast-growing coliving segment.Gully boy said it best. We now serve thousands of millenials streaming,
gaming and video-calling at Oyo, CoLive & Hello World.
In 2019, we solved the middle mile problem and successfully deployed lasers commercially as an underground fiber replacement.
We believe that internet access is a fundamental human right. Not a right conferred upon by mortals, but a natural right. Wifi Dabba firmly believes in net neutrality.
Wifi Dabba is funded by YCombinator & others. We are headquartered in Bangalore with networks across India.
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