Fun without wires

Archive for the ‘open access’ tag

Free Internet Infrastructure

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Ignoring the fact that Verizon are clearly evil (as shown by their service, and the amount of sneaky rubbish installed by their software), maybe they are contributing to a greater good, without even realising it.

I have moved to America now, and in the area that I live, there are only 2 ISPs, Verizon and Road Runner. Verizon’s DSL service is cheaper, so a lot of people are going for that. Road Runner’s Cable service is better, so I went for that. Either way, I tried out Verizon Online DSL, and part of their sales process is to attempt to upsell customers to buy a router so that they can have as many computers as they want online… a wireless router… which is always sold without WEP or MAC-based security configured, because it causes too many support calls! I talked with the technician who installed my Road Runner service and she said basically the same thing, that people are allowed to install a wireless router on their home connection, but that they certainly wouldn’t assist with configuring any security measures, or provide them with security enabled by default.

At first, this just sounds like the usual cop-out of large corporations (HI TELSTRA!), but if you look again, you realise that if this upsell process is effective, and people get the wireless router and use it, then they are providing something to the public; free broadband wireless access to the Internet. There are no bandwidth restrictions (to speak of) on any of these accounts. They are always-on, and not charged by download, upload, connect-time, nothing. It’s a flat charge per month no matter what you do with your account.

I’m not condoning that people should run around looking for open access points to use, but my point is this; if ISPs are providing these facilities (in particular un-metered, un-secured, wireless access to their connection), then there has to be some level of acceptance of the fact that people are going to be using the service without direct authorisation.

The reason that I thought of all of this, is that before I got my connection installed here, I turned on my iPAQ and checked for wireless networks – it immediately picked up 2, one of which was unsecured. Just for a laugh, I let it have a go at connecting, and bingo, I had a nice, fast connection to the Internet, care of a friendly (read: clueless) neighbour. If I thought that I was costing them anything, I would have gotten off immediately, but with everything here being flat-rate, and me only checking a few emails and doing some quick browsing, I didn’t feel too bad.

What’s the general vibe from other people out there about this sort of thing?

Written by Beau Lebens

July 1st, 2004 at 4:00 pm

WA Freenet Project and Open Access

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Well, I noticed that I had a little bit of traffic from e3.com.au, the home of the WA wireless freenet blog, so I jumped on over there, and sure enough, somone had posted a link to my site. The post was followed up by some comments relating to my lack of involvement in the freenet project here in Perth, so I thought I’d post a little about my reasons behind that.

Basically, I’d like to be involved, but I don’t have the resources at the moment. When I get around to getting a new desktop box, then it will be an option because I can have it running all the time, and it will be reliable, but at the moment I only have my laptop running on this WAP, so I can’t really act as any sort of reliable node in a network, thus there’s no point getting involved just yet. I’ll also need to get an external aerial, and figure out how I’m going to go about only semi-permanently attaching that to a rental property, but that’s a whole other issue.

In the mean time, I’d like to point out that there’s probably not a lot that I’m going to directly get out of being a part of the network (i.e. access to any extra information etc), but that I’d be providing my WAP as a repeater/node to help out the power of the entire network more than any sort of personal gain.

Now on to something that might interest other people.

I’m considering opening up my node and leaving it open for public use, for anyone that wants to get onto the ‘net, check email — whatever. I’d leave it completely open, because when I’m not here, it’s not even connected to my computer, so I don’t mind, and I have massive bandwidth quotas, which are paid for by my employer and that I’ll never use, so it’s of no consequence to me. All that I would consider doing is giving myself the ability, and reserving the right, to block users out if they abused it, or if I needed a large slice of my bandwidth for anything in particular at any one time.

What do you think of this? Anyone out there that’d be interested in using a public node once in a while in the Comer Street, Como area? Let me know via the comments and I’ll consider it further 🙂

Written by Beau Lebens

December 22nd, 2003 at 4:00 pm

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