Computer chipsets are the forgotten heroes hidden in your computer. The chipset is the one piece of component regulating the flow of information within your computer and has been left in the dark whilst processors have always basked in the limelight. As a maestro, it controls the inputs/outputs, video, audio and networking functionalities.
In the past few years, in a bid to cut cost, chipset manufacturers have embarked in a race to embed more and more functions into the chipset realm. A modern chipset like the VIA K8M890 can expect to integrate video, audio and network.
With wireless USB and WiMax technologies just round the corner, it would make sense for chipset vendors to bring forth peer-to-peer broadband as a value added element to their portfolio. Experience has shown that users are ready to take part in large scale projects as long as their participation is as pain free as possible.
Imagine having a hardware switch that, if activated, would allow you to voluntarily devote a small percentage of your computer and storage power in exchange for broadband access. What the switch would do is actually convert your computer into a stand alone wireless access point using the hardware on your chipset. Basically mimicking what BitTorrent is doing in software.
Asus has already had a try at a WAP enabled motherboard two years ago, but no one seems to be keen to popularise the concept. Mobile phone manufacturers already have the necessary IP to implement such a solution fairly quickly but don't count on them to push the button.