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FON: Google-eBay venture promoting free Wi-Fi with sale of $5 routers
engine




msg:332907
 4:08 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

FON, a company funded by Google Inc. and eBay Inc. to promote free wireless Internet access, will start selling routers for $5 to encourage consumers to share their Web connections with others.

Consumers buying the routers, which usually cost about $60, will need to let others use their Internet connections and in return will be able to connect for free to other wireless hot spots that are part of the network, said Juergen Urbanski, Madrid-based FON's U.S. general manager.

Google-eBay venture promoting free Wi-Fi with sale of $5 routers [seattlepi.nwsource.com]

 

rogerd




msg:332908
 4:38 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Interesting. It's not clear whether the routers must be used to connect only to a proprietary service offered by FON, or whether they can also connect to services provided by others, e.g., cable companies. It seems likely that opening up your Comcast or AT&T connection to the world might be a wee violation of their TOS.

Either way, this can't be great news for firms that make their living from ISP services.

mattglet




msg:332909
 5:04 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, I hope the security holes are plugged... sounds like a hackers dream.

BillyS




msg:332910
 5:15 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Interesting. It's not clear whether the routers must be used to connect only to a proprietary service offered by FON, or whether they can also connect to services provided by others, e.g., cable companies. It seems likely that opening up your Comcast or AT&T connection to the world might be a wee violation of their TOS.

It is against their TOS and ISPs are upset about this...

This is an absolutely evil thing to do. It’s an excellent example of one company stealing from another for their own benefit. How in the world can Google justify this? While I didn’t always agree with everything Google did in the past, I always thought this was a “good” company. This particular move one leaves me with a very negative feeling about Google.

lazerzubb




msg:332911
 5:25 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

All i can say is that Martin is a very impressive guy, and FON is rocking the free world :)

But yeah they have some cool strategies for their routers coming out, they have given them away in some cases for free too :)

Will be very interesting to see how they play out in the developing nations like China and India etc

And look forward to walking around with a Skype phone, calling using the FON network one day in the future hopefully ;)

BTW when it states ebay, they are kind of missing it was the Skype Boys who went in from what i can remember...

kaled




msg:332912
 6:53 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

If it's possible to identify the data packets as "foreign" I imagine the ISPs will block them. So the question is, can these data packets be identified?

Kaled.

walkman




msg:332913
 7:50 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't blame ISPs for being upset at this. They sell the service anticipating "normal" usage for one household, not the entire neighborhood using it for $40 a month. I suspect they will eventually strike back as this will cost them money in bandwidth, and lost business (why have your own or when you can piggyback). I wonder if they can do sort of MAC filtering or something else when you sign up. For example, when you buy a new computer, you call them, or connect and they add it to the network.

oneguy




msg:332914
 8:08 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't blame ISPs for being upset at this. They sell the service anticipating "normal" usage for one household, not the entire neighborhood using it for $40 a month.

Same here. I hope I don't wind up paying for everyone else's "free" usage.

From the article:
The company also wants to give consumers a way of making money by renting connections to others.

I don't understand. At first, it sounds like they want people to give away their ISP's bandwidth (or whatever bandwidth their ISP alots them), and that statement sounds like they want them to sell it.

hdpt00




msg:332915
 8:22 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree what Goog is doing, if this is what it really is, is indeed evil. And while I am not a big Goog supporter, the tiered internet these companies are coming up with is a disgrace and they desever this.

I hope whole neighborhoods do use 1 connection if they keep promoting a tiered internet.

whoisgregg




msg:332916
 8:38 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

1. Most wireless routers ship with an open wi-fi network.
2. Most wireless modems will use any available open wi-fi network.
3. In any high-density neighborhood those open networks are already being used, often without the express knowledge of the user.

The ISP's haven't responded in mass yet to the issue of wifi shared connections... it would take quite a revolution for them to react. If such a change occurs, they would be much wiser to adapt instead of resist.

StupidScript




msg:332917
 8:58 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

can these data packets be identified

Only to the router level, unless the ISP begins to parse each packet beyond its routing information, which would introduce SERIOUS lag time and be more than a little violation of the users' privacy, a la Carnivore. However this plan is not for piggybacking on existing ISP connections, but rather to expand the FON wi-fi network, specifically.

All I can say is that this is a strong argument for the institution of Net non-Neutrality. If the big boys wanted a reason to charge extra for things, this would be it. Except instead of charging media companies, it would end up as an addition to the consumer's fees and equipment costs, in the end.

I say bad idea, Google. Maybe they are trying to offset the costs of the free wi-fi programs they have been offering to cities by encouraging consumer-level node build-out?

It really all depends on the nature of the FON network, and how much it relies on existing infrastructure.

shinyblue




msg:332918
 9:13 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think this is awesome--I know it's threatening to the small ISPs and to the big ones, but this is the wave of the future.

I make about half my living with a web hosting business for small organizations--I know that my whole business will eventually be obsolete as bandwidth and technology increases and companies like Google offer free space. But I'm not complaining--I'd rather find another way to make a living and support progress and free access for everyone than desperately hold on to a system that is ready to be revolutionized for the benefit of everybody.

IanKelley




msg:332919
 9:50 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Anyone reading the referenced article at below hyper skim speed can see that it's quite clear these routers are aimed at users of the FON network as a way to expand said network.

The relationship of FON members with their ISP remains between them and their ISP.

It should be noted that all conventional internet connections have a bandwidth limit. i.e. your 3 meg broadband connection is exactly that. So no matter how many people someone shares their connection with it will never exceed the bandwidth they pay for.

But wth, goog hate is popular and jumping to conlusions and blowing spittle on your monitor is fun! :-)

StupidScript




msg:332920
 10:48 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

As I noted above, I do agree with IanKelley that this is only intended for the FON network.

However I still think it's a bad idea to have any number of independent, unsecured wi-fi routers used as open access points and being potentially monitored quite intrusively.

What would be good is if each individual who provided a node on the FON network were not actually in the position of directly managing it. Say, the FON software would enable management from a central set of FON servers, so that packet scraping and reverse connections to users of the wi-fi network were severly limited and responsibly monitored.

I like the idea of mass-availability, but I don't like the idea that anyone with $5 can start routing public traffic through their own systems without some substantial measure of responsibility.

I wonder what the NSA thinks?

walkman




msg:332921
 12:01 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> So no matter how many people someone shares their connection with it will never exceed the bandwidth they pay for.

Really? So having 3MB used every second /minute /hour as supposed to just a few hours at night (a normal household) is the same for the ISP? If you want a T1, or T3 say so, and the ISP will be more than happy to provide it to you--at the T1/T3 price. Bandwidth costs, one way or another, and the ISP has to recoup it's costs. You pay $40 a month because the have calculated it with average use. if enough people do what Goog & eBay want them to do, then the network load increases, costs skyrocket and paying customers suffer, as Verizon does not get the money needed to spend to keep up with growth.

Using your logic, dozens of people should be able to use John Doe's insurance to go to the doctor as long as they don't surpass the, say, 50 visits a year allowed under the plan. Or have only one car insurance for the three cars, and carry the papers on the car you're driving. Things don't work that way, and Goog's PHDs in statistics would be the first to tell you ;)

BillyS




msg:332922
 12:16 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>So no matter how many people someone shares their connection with it will never exceed the bandwidth they pay for.

Clearly a misunderstanding of how bandwith works. Did you ever price out a T1 line? You're talking hundreds a month. As was pointed out, ISP rely on diversification of load across their network.

BillyS




msg:332923
 12:23 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>Anyone reading the referenced article at below hyper skim speed can see that it's quite clear these routers are aimed at users of the FON network as a way to expand said network.

More bad information. You need to read more on the topic than just this article. Yeah, it's the FON network, which is encouraging their members to break the TOS they have with their ISPs.

IanKelley




msg:332924
 12:53 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

I was half expecting these kinds of replies, I should have added a disclaimer.

First, T1 misconceptions... Most of the price of a T1 comes from three things:

1) Less hops/wider pipes. With a T1 you're wired in closer to the backbone.

2) Symmetrical. It's not really the 1.5 meg download you're paying for, it's the 1.5 meg upload.

3) Dedicated. In theory the bandwidth will always be there if you need it. Of course the same theory applies to most DSL services. In both cases 100% of the bandwidth is rarely used.

T1 pricing is not, in any way, a good baseline for the cost of consumer bandwidth.

As far as cable and DSL goes... Personally I max out my bandwidth all the time, sometimes for hours on end. But then my internet use is higher than "average". Perhaps they should charge me more for actually using the advertised service to it's capacity?

The bandwidth argument is similar to saying that it's the consumer's problem when hosting companies oversell their server and bandwidth capacity out of the (semi-safe) gamble that none of their customers are ever actually going to reach the limits they pay for.

And by similar I mean... actually similar. As opposed to comparing bandwidth use to health care? I mean come on :-)

From another angle... I work from the road a lot. When I access the net through hotel networks I find that the majority of the time they use a single T1 line for the whole hotel. Occasionally they even use a single DSL or cable connection.

Depending on the hotel there are times in the evening when you can safely say that there are dozens+ of people accessing the network.

Despite this the network does not max out.

Joe's FON node on 5th street definitely isn't going to be using more bandwidth than a sold out business-centric hotel with half the rooms accessing the internet.

So in other words it doesn't make sense to say that the FON concept is going to cause 100% bandwidth use, or anything vaguely approaching it.

IanKelley




msg:332925
 1:15 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Side note... everyone in the country could join the FON network and it wouldn't increase bandwidth use even a fraction of what the rise of online video, music, file sharing and movie rental popularity is going to do/has already done.

FON is just a drop in the bucket.

walkman




msg:332926
 1:28 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> Side note... everyone in the country could join the FON network and it wouldn't increase bandwidth use even a fraction of what the rise of online video, music, file sharing and movie rental popularity is going to do/has already done.

congratulations in missing the point once again. Here's a hint: It does not matter. It's against the TOS, and it is so for a good reason. here's a sample ISP TOS from Comcast ( safe to assume that most have similar contracts):

[comcast.net...]

"Prohibited uses include, but are not limited to, using the Service, Customer Equipment, or the Comcast Equipment to:

"...resell the Service or otherwise make available to anyone outside the Premises the ability to use the Service (i.e. wi-fi, or other methods of networking), in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, or on a bundled or unbundled basis. The Service is for personal and non-commercial use only and you agree not to use the Service for operation as an Internet service provider or for any business enterprise or purpose, or as an end-point on a non-Comcast local area network or wide area network;
"

IanKelley




msg:332927
 2:07 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

That has nothing to do with the FON network, or Google, or eBay, or anyone else. As I mentioned, the relationship between the users and their individual ISPs (each with a different TOS) is entirely up to them.

I enjoy that you can speak of specifics and then jump back to "the point" so that I can be "missing it". :-)

rogerd




msg:332928
 2:46 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

If Google is indeed encouraging users to violate their TOS, though, that could be a bit questionable. I doubt if most users have a clue as to what their TOS says.

As far as "using the bandwith you are paying for", pricing and capacity are based on typical usage. Your neighborhood buffet can offer all-you-can-eat for eight bucks (even if some people eat more than others), but if they were inundated with sumo wrestlers or groups holding daily eating contests, they'd have to raise prices or limit consumption.

>>In any high-density neighborhood those open networks are already being used, often without the express knowledge of the user.

People are getting smarter. I recently visited relatives in a high-density complex, and I could see a half-dozen access points, but none were open. There could have been others in stealth mode - I was just using my wireless card to view visible access points. I was a bit surprised that not one network was open - I ended up having to type in the encryption key to use my relatives' setup. ;)

One has to admit, though, the idea of pervasive, free WiFi IS appealing.

IanKelley




msg:332929
 3:01 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> Your neighborhood buffet can offer all-you-can-eat for eight bucks (even if some people eat more than others), but if they were inundated with sumo wrestlers or groups holding daily eating contests, they'd have to raise prices or limit consumption.

This kind of concept is why I added the internet video, music, files, movies side note. To use your buffet metaphor, the sumo wrestlers are already there, and going back for seconds, FON is a six year old with the flu.

walkman




msg:332930
 3:34 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ian, I gave up on that. Nevermind.

>>Your neighborhood buffet can offer all-you-can-eat for eight bucks (even if some people eat more than others), but if they were inundated with sumo wrestlers or groups holding daily eating contests, they'd have to raise prices or limit consumption.

Good example. What Google is trying to do is to have people eat for themselves, and sneak some food to non-paying persons. Apparently they think that with one person paying means that dozens could eat.

As far as users not knowing I agree, and if only a small percentage do it, the cost can be absorbed.

However, Google is clearly wrong here, as they have to know that they are asking users to break the TOS so Google can profit. Very unethical.

oneguy




msg:332931
 10:15 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good example. What Google is trying to do is to have people eat for themselves, and sneak some food to non-paying persons. Apparently they think that with one person paying means that dozens could eat.

Exactly. Try walking outside the door of a buffet and giving or selling plates full of food to people. You won't be welcomed back. ISPs might not welcome back people giving away and selling their bandwidth, either.

But wth, goog hate is popular and jumping to conlusions and blowing spittle on your monitor is fun! :-)

Yes, we all live for that. Nice analysis, but it probably deserves a dedicated thread.

dillonstars




msg:332932
 10:32 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

However, Google is clearly wrong here, as they have to know that they are asking users to break the TOS so Google can profit. Very unethical.

FON, a company funded by Google Inc. and eBay Inc.

Surely it is FON that are being unethical, not Google. Google are simply investors - as are eBay. Am i missing something?

vincevincevince




msg:332933
 11:17 am on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Absolutely great news. I suspect that the ebay connection is more skype-related than ebay-related.

And as for those worrying on behalf of ISPs, overselling is a high risk strategy and they were well aware of the risks when they created the packages. If you sell me a 1024k/512k line then I am fully expect to be able to use as much bandwidth as I can squeeze out of it as much as I want, whenever I want, and for whatever I want.

Sharing your connection via Wi-Fi with neighbours is a kindhearted and helpful thing to do. The fact that this will encourage more of it is pure brilliance. I always share my connection with anyone who stumbles past, I'd only start limiting it if someone was doing heavy downloading and impacting on my own use too much.

And for those who claim this is outside of the TOS, it is no different from sharing internet using a wired network. Or do you begrudge us using a hub to connect up multiple PCs as well?

TOS for my connection states you can do absolutely anything, nothing is metered, nothing is barred, do what you like. But I am aware not every ISP has the same flexibility.

oneguy




msg:332934
 1:30 pm on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Surely it is FON that are being unethical, not Google. Google are simply investors - as are eBay. Am i missing something?

I guess it depends on how blindly they are investing. I'm not even sure it's an ethical vs unethical issue since some ISPs might not have a problem with it. I just see it leading to some bad outcomes.

Zamboni




msg:332935
 2:14 pm on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

There must be a google ulterior motive to this, because the plan as stated will never wash. Cable and satellite tv companies have already been through this with townships trying to rebroadcast the satellite signals etc.. It seems there is already a precedent to stop this type of sharing.

papachumba




msg:332936
 2:38 pm on Jun 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

this is from avforums.com, I posted it in April '05...

I see wireless networks popping around all the time, round my house, round my girlfriend's house, parents house... It seems that everyone who has broadband bought a wireless router these days!

And yes, i have, on more than one occasion "borrowed" someone else's connection to check my mail or do a bit of surfing. Nothing too heavy obviously.

Now these unprotected networks are ususally set up by noobs who do not really know that they could protect their individual network by encryption, etc... I'm sure my parents network is being used by someone else as its not protected, but hey, what the hell they only use it rarely anyway!

I think its quite amazing, as what we are getting now is loads of wireless access points popping up all over the place, in the end i guess this could make an "uber-wireless" network where all the households are cojoined into one big LAN. Imagine this as several available points from which to download data. For instance you could use 100% of your local personal network to do filesharing and then using 3% of your neighbour's connection (if available, if not pick another neighbour that has a free datastream) to do websurfing.

Basically downloading could be managed and coordinated between households to let everyone have greater download speeds. Of course checks would need to be put into place to prevent someone from abusing other people's networks.
Look at it this way: I abolutely do not mind sharing my home wireless LAN with anyone around my neighbourhood as long as when i DO surf i do not experience any slowdown... Sort of like communist Internet Access, lol.

Well there i was going off on a tangent about wireless networks.

maybe someone at google read it? tehehe

This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: 40 ( [1] 2 > >
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