Scientists at the Technical University in Darmstadt in western Germany have made the claims and published their mathematical model in the International Journal of Mobile Network Design and Innovation.

According to their findings, “…first responders could hook into the internet within a 30-metre circle from virtually any position in town. Connectivity with their peers as well as back to their colleagues at headquarters and elsewhere could be assured. “

Kamill Panitzek and colleagues, the researchers involved, worked their way through an area of 0.5 square km and just using an Android application were able to locate 1,971 Wi-Fi routers of which 212 were open public routers. This high a density of routers can be effectively used by responders to connect to their headquarters by connecting to Internet through these routers.

According to the team there can be emergency “switches” that can be incorporated in these routers, which as and when activated, will enable emergency responders to use them as a backup network for voice as well as data traffic.

Privacy concerns will definitely be at the forefront with such a technology but, the team suggests that the “guest” mode, available in most of the routers, may be used for this purpose.

Read on how researchers turned Wi-Fi routers into spying devices.