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This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. The opinions expressed within are my own and should not be attributed to any other Individual, Company or the one I work for. I just happen to be a classic techie who is passionate about getting things to work as they should do (and are sometimes advertised and marketed as being able to?) and when I can I drop notes here to help others falling in to the same traps that I have fallen in to. If this has helped then please pass it on - if you feel that I have commented in error or disagree then please feel free to discuss with me either publically or privately? Cheers, Dave

Thin Clients, VDI and Linux integration from the front lines.... Raw and sometimes unedited notes based on my experiences with VMware, Thin Clients, Linux etc.


This is a very intriguing idea, some while ago I was having a play with some tools like NetStumbler for *discovering* WiFi networks and also came across some maps from Julian Priest - The State of Wirless London who had effectively taken an Audit or Census of London's WiFi capabilities back in March 2004, complete with coverage maps, etc.

I would imagine that nearly 2 years later we would be just about saturated with full cover across most of London? Does anyone else have any updates on this?

A Spanish start-up promoting sharing of home Internet connections via Wi-Fi has received some serious funding

A wireless communications start-up in Spain that is partly a grass-roots social movement seeking to encourage users to share Internet access with their neighbours is set to announce on Monday £12.3m in funding from big name backers, such as Skype and Google.

Fon Technology SL said it has secured €18m in initial financing from Skype, the VoIP company now owned by eBay, Google, and venture capital firms Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital.

These backers offer legitimacy for Madrid-based Fon, whose goal is to create a block-by-block network of shared wireless links around the globe, by turning users of local Wi-Fi access into an army of "foneros", or people sharing wireless access.

Fon is a wireless incarnation of peer-to-peer technology that was first made popular — and controversial — by the pioneering online music-sharing service, Napster.

As the company's name implies, Fon would allow users of not just laptops, but also mobile phones or the latest portable gaming devices — anything with a built-in Wi-Fi link — to share wireless connections offered by other Fon users.

But Fon could face legal challenges from phone and cable TV carriers who bar users from sharing Web access, just as Hollywood sued and put the original Napster out of business for encouraging millions to illegally share music.

"It's an awesome idea just like Napster was, with all the consequences that come with it," said Roger Entner, a wireless industry analyst with market research firm Ovum in Boston.

The company's multilingual Web site is a mix of social activist iconography and money-making e-commerce self-service. Clicking the link "Join the Movement!" takes one to a subscriber sign-up page, for example.

Fon is the brainchild of Argentinian entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky, founder of major Spanish telecommunications and Internet companies Jazztel and

Fon's founder said his strategy is to bargain with ISPs and vastly increase their audience.

"My heart is with people who invest in networks," Varsavsky told Reuters in an interview late last week. "We befriend the ISPs by sharing revenue," he said.

Toward that end, Fon has signed up GlocoNet, the second largest ISP in Sweden, and US-based Speakeasy of Seattle.

Varsavsky said he also holds out hope of convincing potential adversaries among established ISPs such as Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, AT&T and Time Warner of working with his "foneros."

Internet subscribers who install Fon software to make their wireless routers able to share bandwidth with other Fon users are then allowed to freely roam the Fon network around town or worldwide and find wireless connections as they go.

Fon needs only two to four foneros per city block to give good wireless coverage, Varsavsky maintains.

If a user is part of Fon, they receive wireless access as they roam for free. Non-Fon members pay for Wi-Fi service, which Fon plans to split with local Internet access providers.

"You first have to become a customer of an ISP... Then you can become a fonero if you donate Wi-Fi," Varsavsky said. "If you don't donate, you are not a fonero."

Wi-Fi was first popularised by grass-roots technology advocates in high-tech centres around the world, who sought to create shared neighbourhood networks. It is this grass-roots spirit that Fon seeks to tap.

"That's a great idea, but you are breaking the law," Ovum's Entner said flatly. "It is treating Wi-Fi as communal property when it is not."

While sharing Wi-Fi connections remains commonplace among consumers, the situation exists because ISPs have, by and large, been reluctant to enforce their user agreements banning this.

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2006 9:10 AM C500/C600 SmartPhone (or replacement) , Citrix , Exchange and Push Email , IT Management , Real Cool Stuff , Microsoft Tips , Security | Back to top

Comments on this post: So more on this WiFi/Network play - Skype and Google fund 'illegal' Wi-Fi start-up

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