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A Motley Crew Beams No-Cost Broadband In New York

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the someone-wire-13th-st-bkln dept.

The Internet 250

Peter Meyers points to this article in the Village Voice, one of the best I've seen on the growing guerilla-networking scene. He excerpts a bit for your pleasure: "Along with some 30 other volunteers in a group called NYCwireless, Townsend's on a crusade to set up wireless Internet access zones: small areas, often called free networks, where people can tap into high-speed connections, without cables or phone lines, at no cost. Call it a marriage of the Web and pirate radio, forged even as big telecom interests bicker over the rights to wireless-spectrum licenses."

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maybe it's me (3, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 12 years ago | (#2110888)

It could just be my viewpoint, but do articles relating to technology that the Village Voice and other similar publications publish concern themselves more with the act of writing about doing something rather than the observed act itself?

(and do they use tortorous sentences like the one composed above?)

guerilla network SYDNEY (1)

teflon007 (231345) | more than 12 years ago | (#2116027)

If someone is interested in doing this in Sydney Australia, email crew@subliminalnetworks.com thx

London UK has a couple too. (2)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 12 years ago | (#2118671)

We have the massive choice of British Telecom, NTL and Telewest and that's if they supply to your area.

My personal choice for broadband is either BT or BT or BT and I can choose to pay £40/month ($60) for the privilege.

So, I'm looking very seriously at WLANs and setting one up for my local area. Hell, I have the skills, I have the motivation, I just need a connection and some hardware.

Some existing Community WLANs:



Could have far-reaching implications (2, Insightful)

3141 (468289) | more than 12 years ago | (#2119806)

Considering all the talk about regulating the Internet [slashdot.org] I think that methods like this might become the NEW Internet, assuming that the governments of the world are successful at all. One potential problem I see with it is that if it truly is a free service, as soon as people start realising they can get broadband for nothing, wouldn't the system quickly become saturated? Let's hope not!

Slashdot beaten? (1)

nivals (470549) | more than 12 years ago | (#2122119)

This is the first time I have ever seen this as a long time die hard Slashdot reader.

This article appeared somewhere else before it did on slashdot.

What a pity.

www.netstumbler.com [netstumbler.com] appears to be a good site for people interested in "war driving" and wireless networking like myself.

Im sure Netstumbler is the software used by NYCwireless members to do the "War driving" described in the article.

Hmmm... (4, Interesting)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 12 years ago | (#2124657)

Whats stopping people from making their own home-grown wild internet.

Networking stuff is CHEAP. A few people here already have their own home networks.

Link them, leap over the technological hurdles, create an internet where big commerce does not exist.

Sorta like hands around the world, but with cat-5. :-)

Re:Hmmm... (3, Interesting)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | more than 12 years ago | (#2118781)

I have been pondering what it would take to make a indapendant non corp net for a bit now. All I can see is major implamentation problems.

First we must replace the IP proticals with something more secure and expandable

Second, net hardware may be cheap but unless we where to implament a p2pnet we would need somewhere to connect to localy. The problems of depending on a total p2p based network are plenty odvious to anyone with a cable net connection trying to download a mp3 from someone who has a 14.4 connection.

Third killer apps are needed. Chicken != Egg

Forth a configuration file that says app foo should use TCP/IP and app bar should use XYZ/AB. A bit simplified but you get the idea.

Fifth, a rag tag fugitive fleat of standerds.

Sixth, government intervention and "Protecting the children"

Thats what I just came up with off the top of my head. It would be very nice to see such a thing take off but I doubt that it will happen.

All of these obsticals where overcome the first time we built the net so it can be done again.

Then again it was done again with the Internet2 but thats not for public use.

Also remember that the original net was in 1995-1997 the Information Super Highway. Then it turned into e-business. It was not invissioned as a shoping mall but as a library. You can not take a rouge net with no central authority and keep the corp world out of it.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2157781)

Well, you are obviously not particularly stupid (meaning that you are reasonably intelligent)... but jeez, you need a spellchecker VERY badly... sorry, I felt compelled to say something about it

Consume the net (2, Interesting)

robin (1321) | more than 12 years ago | (#2125791)

There is an interesting project underway in the UK called consume [consume.net] --
Fed up with being held to ransom in the local loop, phased by fees to ISP's, concious of community? OK so lets build a fresh network, one that is local, global, fast, expanding, public and user-constructed.
I keep meaning to get in touch with them about setting up a node, but somehow I doubt there's much demand in the bit of London where I live...

Where bout are you? (2)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 12 years ago | (#2122717)

I'm in W3.

Will be talking to my housing association once I've investigated the options more.

Re:Consume the net (2)

jbrw (520) | more than 12 years ago | (#2124269)

Get in touch, add your node as "speculative" to their database. You may well find some other people in your area who have been thinking similar thoughts.

Some (relatively) long haul connections are about to come online in London. The extended range people are starting to get/offer may be of use to you.

(they cancelled Jackass? [free2air.org] Eeep!)

this has been happening in London for a while now. (1)

kerincosford (228730) | more than 12 years ago | (#2125792)

A collaborative "data cloud [www.consum...etexternal]" effort has been slowly building up over the last couple of years. if I had access to my roof and a spare few quid, I know I'd be jumping into this.

Give up (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 12 years ago | (#2137368)

what's with you guys who try to spawn external windows?!
There's been a rash of this here lately, and if you had been paying attention you'd realise that it doesn't work.

If I want one, I'll get it on my own, thanks.

haha, the last phrase made me laugh... (2)

Meorah (308102) | more than 12 years ago | (#2127139)

"This is fucking cool," he says. "This is better than 3G"--the high-speed network cell phone companies are hyping. "That's not even half the speed of what we're getting. And it works."

Its so true, but its also so ghetto. 3G, once implemented, will have multiple metropolis coverage instantaneously. I've heard about the air-port technology for public places... how does this differ from that idea?

corporate resistance (4, Insightful)

Proud Geek (260376) | more than 12 years ago | (#2127998)

I doubt corporations will resist this phenomenon. They want to make money off of wireless, and to do that they don't need the whole wireless spectrum. Sure they'd love to have it, but all they really need is a chunk to buy and force everyone else off of.

Instead what they will do to discourage this is they will point out, just as I will, that this is a precarious thing. It's a great anonymous platform for introducing worms and viruses into the wild, and a nice way to control a zombie army without worrying at all about being traced to your home IP. All this on top of a protocol that's as secure and solid as swiss cheese. Really, you'd have to be asking for trouble to do this.

Actually, some companies might object: the ones who have to deal with the repercussions of this, be they ISP's having to clean up the mess, or other companies (or governments) hit by guerilla network crackers. This is very unfortunate, but it's an old principle. It only takes one person to pee in the pool.

Re:corporate resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2124521)

Use linux. Heavily firewalled.

Re:corporate resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2138818)

Encrypted SMTP servers only

Re:corporate resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2139352)

And if thats no good use Navaho talk

inccorect trust (2)

twitter (104583) | more than 12 years ago | (#2137364)

I doubt corporations will resist this phenomenon. They want to make money off of wireless, and to do that they don't need the whole wireless spectrum. Sure they'd love to have it, but all they really need is a chunk to buy and force everyone else off of.

The force will come from FCC, as it did in TV broadcasts. For 50 years 60 channels were occupied by 3 networks, go figure! It only takes a few laws, "in the public interest", and heavy fees to blow everyone else off.

Re:corporate resistance (1)

boldra (121319) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142221)

I'm not a network guru, but isn't the zombie threat largely neutralised if you setup your router rules correctly? Spam's still a problem of course.

Re:corporate resistance (2, Insightful)

Secret Coward (427931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143698)

It's a great anonymous platform for introducing worms and viruses into the wild, and a nice way to control a zombie army without worrying at all about being traced to your home IP.

This has been said a million times before, and I'll say it again:

He who would give up a little bit of freedom for a little bit of security will lose both and deserve neither.

If someone wants to introduce worms and viruses into the wild, they will always find a way to do it without being traced. They could go to a library, internet cafe, college; or if desperate enough, break into someone's home and force an innocent person to assist them. The simple fact is, creating a surveillance society will not stop crime.

With that said, I think you're right. Opponents of a free internet will characterize it as a tool of crime.

Pirate Cable! (2)

RoufTop (94425) | more than 12 years ago | (#2128000)

I don't really see how, to an ISP, this is any different a beast from splicing cables. They're both taking a single resource with the expectation of one person using it, and turning it into a shared pool.

Re:Pirate Cable! (1)

big_nipples (412515) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135846)

Yes, your point is valid, and I hope some others reading this realize that they *need* to stay within whatever TOS they've got with their ISP. That said, however, there are still a lot of broadband connections out there that don't prevent this sort of thing -- like T1 lines and leased lines and the like. Though the article doesn't come out and say it, it looks like this guy is sharing the sort of bandwidth I'm talking about, and not a cable modem.

Re:Pirate Cable! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2139398)

I don't really see how, to an ISP, this is any different a beast from splicing cables. They're both taking a single resource with the expectation of one person using it, and turning it into a shared pool.

That's precisely what it is - "stealing" cable access by offering it to people other than the account holder. It's rather like college students in dorms or off-campus housing quietly setting up home networks off one cable line, instead of doing the honest thing and letting the ISP know what they're up to.

First, I can guarantee that these wireless pirate networks will be disconnected very, very soon; ISPs will not stand to see their own bandwidth and equipment costs skyrocket because some freeloaders are abusing someone else's connection. Second, there will be much whining and screaming from said freeloaders, claiming they were doing nothing wrong, when in fact it's almost certain the ISP contract clearly states that a customer cannot use their service to offer Internet access to others. Third, I bet you'll almost never actually see one of the piraters actually go out, lease a T3 or something from a backbone provider, and cover the costs of setup and maintenance of a legal wireless freenet. Why spend that kind of money, when one can simply abuse a cable connection and Fight The Man?

No, corporations shouldn't be allowed to swallow wireless spectrums whole, but if you can't do it legally, don't do it at all. You're only hurting yourself, your ISP, your users, and any future attempts to set up a legit service. Seriously, grow up.

Re:Pirate Cable! (1)

pcgamez (40751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2137363)

What about in the case of DSL? You PAY for a certain ammount of bandwidth and Have every right to use 100% of it!

Re:Pirate Cable! (1)

nycdewd (160297) | more than 12 years ago | (#2157395)

"...rather like college students in dorms or off-campus housing quietly setting up home networks off one cable line, instead of doing the honest thing and letting the ISP know what they're up to." Hmm, yes, well... being far past the college age myself, I have DSL and a router and more than one computer in my home, need I say more? OK, I will: though the ToS posted at my ISP's website *somewhat* clearly states it is acceptable to setup a home network that shares my DSL connection, I have not been forthcoming at all with my ISP (btw, it's earthlink) in this regard... they are not advised by me that there are four computers sharing that DSL connection in my home. I say fuck 'em, it's none of their damn business...

Okay, so what if you go semi-legit with it? (2)

Myself (57572) | more than 12 years ago | (#2157492)

What if you buy an extra IP or two from your cable company, saying "it's for my girlfriend's computer" or something, without mentioning that your girlfriend lives on the next block?

Further, I see big benefits for heavy duty proxy servers in applications like this. With intelligent management and semi-responsible use, it's doubtful whether this would present much of an increase from the provider's point of view.

I've been considering setting up something like this with my dialup connection. The bandwidth is silly, but people could still check their mail or chat over it, and dialup ISPs could care less what you do with the connection. A local proxy would make an even bigger difference in this case.

Oh wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2131164)

"Where else, he asks, can you walk around with a computer, surf the Web, and go utterly unnoticed?"

Dear Anthony - in any civilized and technologically adequate country. Finland, for example.

Doing the same in the U.K. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2131343)

goto www.consume.net to find a node in the u.k... this is v.cool!

Behemoths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2132998)

Behemoths beware!

I don't get it. (1)

neoshmeng (467015) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133697)

This is being touted as the NEW internet, but doesn't it require at some point a connection to the 'real' internet? How can this provide the anonimity that people are claiming? Sure you can't pinpoint an individual in the network, but what about the ISP to which this 'radio network' is attached? Am I missing something here?

It reminds of the NEBUCHADREZZER from the movie, THE MATRIX, flying around and tapping into the Matrix through a pirate connection and then getting out before you are caught...

This can happen by accident (4, Informative)

PsyQ (87838) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133698)

A recent test in Zurich showed that as long as you have a notebook with a 802.11b wireless Ethernet card, you can freely use someone else's high speed Net connections as long as your battery lasts.

In about 2 hours of driving through central Zurich, the testers found no less than a dozen open, unrestricted corporate wireless LANs. Getting the gateway's IP was not a problem thanks to most 802.11b base station's built in DHCP server. If you live near any of these companies, all you need is an external antenna for your card and off you go at someone else's cost - and it's their own fault.

But what's even greater is that around Lake Zurich, you can use broadband 802.11b for free, legally :)

See the project's official site [www.surfam...argetblank].

abuse (0, Flamebait)

gkuchta (451185) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133725)

This is a really interesting service, and I hope that it can continue to operate, unmolested, despite abusive users. Anonymously retrieved child-porn is a term that comes to mind.

Wireless communities in Sweden (2, Informative)

setre (78613) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135163)

There is a mailinglist that is based in sweden called Elektrosmog [elektrosmog.nu] that has been discussing the technology and communities like this for quite a while now. We are also building a wireless community network [nora-wireless.org] in my small hometown Nora and the interest seems to be growing all the time.

Motley Crew ? (3, Offtopic)

retinaburn (218226) | more than 12 years ago | (#2137369)

It is nice Tommy Lee is no technologicaly inclined. Should have realized though, he is ALL over the internet.

use commercial connects (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 12 years ago | (#2137370)

You should be able to get arround TOS problems by using commercial connects, they are by nature for network usage. You might have to convince the suits that the 'costs' should be charged against the Good-Will account. Some considerations are;
  1. the public server should broadcast from outside the DMZ
  2. have real corperate net traffic from inside have priority over public net traffic from outside.
  3. keep some ports bandwidth artificialy low such as SMPT port to discourage spammers, and of course Known innapropriate sites should be blocked you're doing this already right? after all you don't want joe breaking the law or creating a 'Hostile Work Enviroment' do you?
  4. as for serious crackers, log their cards MAC. When they go through the DHCP they have to report their MAC and that's a fairly unique number, which they would find discouraging. Actually the FBI might like this they could just walk up and start sniffing, an open network might be like the in plain sight or public speach they as far as search warrants go IANAL.
  5. Sure they'll complain about security, but actualy this will force them to think about it. probably their network is wide open now and they don't realise it.
  6. It wouldn't be any different than UUNET from the old days. For you youngsters that was when company A said "we got bandwidth from Detroit to NYC" ans company B said "we got bandwidth from NYC to Miami" lets share so we can get Email from Miami to Detroit using only local calls sure everything was batched and didn't run too fast but it was cheaper than leasing 10 T1 lines to all of your cities.
add a few park benches with tastefull advertising, maybe lease space, to food venders, coffee shops and viola! open air internet cafe. Most userage would be during your off-peak hours. Not to different than what they are doing at airports right now. If they keep the commercial side low-key it wouldn't realy put people off too much.

It's now what's better.. It's a choice! (1)

linuxrunner (225041) | more than 12 years ago | (#2138980)

People, as always, are comapring one method -> 3G to another... I don't believe that this should be so. The idea behind a free network should be because it is better. It may not be. But is that the true reason for creating it? No.

I think that the true reason is to give people, such as myself, an alternative to the big globe companies that have complete control over what I see and read. (They won't let me read alt.2600 on the usenet)

Instead an alternative could be cheaper, free, useful, or private. I like the idea of private, not because I have something to hide but because the free flow of private information is a REQUIREMENT of a free society.

Again, it's all about choices, and I commend these people for taking upon such a hefty task.

Jews (-1)

Ralph JewHater Nader (450769) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139068)

Sounds jewish. They set up free networks so they can gather information on people, and eventually will blackmail honest Aryans and gullible niggers into their plan for worldwide domination. Damn those kikes are shifty.

Re:Jews (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2140014)

Moderation total = -1 (Fuckwit)

public water fountains (5, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139070)

i'm worried about this phenomenon being snuffed out... there are so many angles to how it could be killed: spectrum rights, terms-of-use, 802.11 security...

i live in manhattan... does anybody want to get together with me and try to propose to city hall that these entities should be legally protected? do it fast and stealthily enough, with the right level of positive community mojo, and it could sneak under the radar of the huge corporations with vested interests and reversing it would only be a pr embarassment for them...

people have water at home, sometimes metered, they buy bottled water, but everyone is used to the idea of the free public water fountain. why should it be any different with these little cells?

Re:public water fountains (2)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139762)

I don't see any issue.. People are setting up off the shelf equipment to do what they were ment to do. Just not in the way most people would do it (open so anybody can access it). I don't see how they could shut it down. They only thing I can see them doing is regulating it, so that you might have to have you name and address on record so if you go hacking all kinds of people you can be held accountable. Just like they'll probably track you down for peeing in a public fountain.

I wouldn't mind setting up a wireless network for free for people in my apartment complex, but I would like their info, and i would probably give them static IPs, so in case something did happen, I could track down who did it.. No need for me to get shit from the FBI for downloading kiddie porn when it was really the guy in 1B.

Re:public water fountains (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2141402)

Moot point considering this [restrooms.org].

VINCE NEIL ROCKS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2139189)

He's gonna be your Frankenstein!

the real motive (2, Funny)

dobratzp (155212) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139353)

...scanning the adult playground the place becomes on hot summer evenings. Where else, he asks, can you walk around with a computer, surf the Web, and go utterly unnoticed?

adult playground... hot summer evenings... go utterly unnoticed... sounds like somebody got kicked out of the house for looking at pr0n.

Pardon Me (3, Informative)

Nater (15229) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139666)

There are motley crews beaming no-cost broadband in several dozen cities around the world. Unless they've managed to slather the entire Lower East Side with access points and get a fair number of end-user type participants, what the hell is so special about New York's version of this idea?

I'm doing this in Chicago (things are moving slowly). My personal favorites in the community wireless world are Seattle Wireless [seattlewireless.net] and Green Bay Professional Packet Radio [gbppr.org] (GBPPR has some great tech and a very experimental bent, but they won't give you the time of day unless you can convert mw to dBm in your head... fine with me).

The way DSL is going, I can't wait for stuff like this to pick up some momentum.

What about packet radio? (1)

buglord (455997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139942)

This reminds me right away of packet radio. My father used to get reliable 2.4kB conenctions on 2m band while he had his ham radio phase.

But that was the 80's - packet must have gone on to higher speeds. Anybody know what kind of speeds you can get now?

I was thinking that that could be real cool if the technology would spread, with a protocol that would find out the nearest nodes and could configure a private IP network. To uplink to the internet, people with flatrates could donate bandwidth and supply their computers as gateways.
Or has this been tried before?

AMPR.ORG (4, Interesting)

mwillems (266506) | more than 12 years ago | (#2157568)

It's done. I do it. There's 1200 (and "high speed" 9600 bps) TCP/IP gateways all over the place. See ampr.org [ampr.org] for more details.

And boy, do I use it. When my cable access in Toronto goes down, and I am in Asia or at the office, I telnet to a nearby TCP/IP gateway, then telnet to my hambox node via packet!

And all my email goes out: the gateway is also a mail gateway. Anyway, see www.mvw.net/radio [mvw.net]

Oh, and I connected to the ISS (Space station) for the first time recently.

The ampr. org (44.) has plenty of IP's left. So all hurry up and get your ham radio license!


Well yippie for the happy New Yorkers... (1)

E-Rock-23 (470500) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141384)

Gee, must be nice. Here I sit on 56K (barely), in an area where Verizon barely looks when it comes to demand, waiting for the broadband light to kick on. I've been at this ISO for nearly 2 days now, and it shows no signs of slowing (or speeding up, either). It's painful, really, knowing what else is out there. Salvation will come, even if I have to leave my home in search of the tools I need. And oh yeah: Screw Africa. Wire ME first. Then wire the Otehubbehummabob Tribe in southern Zaire...

What I'm wondering.... (4, Insightful)

NovaScorpio (127710) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142053)

What I'm wondering about this is how Townshend expects to support more than a few people on that connection. Let's just say he has cable. If 1 person is playing Counter-Strike, or any bandwidth intensive game for that matter, and has 5 other people surfing the net, this guy won't have any bandwidth to spare.
And mind you, this is all coming from his own peronsal line. I don't know many people who would just go ahead and give away bandwidth to anyone for the hell of it. Regardless, for this kind of thing to happen everywhere would constitute either a huge non-profit organization with lots of funds, or government sponsoring...

Re:What I'm wondering.... (1)

High Elf Pyrion (515033) | more than 12 years ago | (#2125793)

It won't change much. Whether he has extremely low ping or extremely high ping, he's still going to accuse everyone of cheating, so it's not like it's going to change much. :P

Maybe... (1)

Abnornymous Howard (227643) | more than 12 years ago | (#2131780)

... it wasn't intended for people playing CS. I went to a school where 10 computers shared a 56kbps modem. The telneters (me and another guy) had no problems with that while the hotmail junkies got pretty annoyed at the low speed. You just have to use the available resources for relevant things... just a thought...

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2143057)

Exactly. I love my Cable Modem at home, but the connection here in work just sucks. Most people will just sit and complain that their Flash heavy pages take ages to load, but I have no problem switching off images in my browser, and falling back to telneting to my ISP's POP3 server to read my email. I can get & read my mail quicker than it takes for the webmail page to load. Most people wouldn't even think of it.

Re:What I'm wondering.... (3, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 12 years ago | (#2137717)

Well, I have a cable modem, which costs me around £20 per month. A lot of the time I'm not really using it. The connection is always on, with more-or-less the same IP address, but perhaps with some mail coming and going, nothing else, while I'm not here.
If I had any PC-using friends within wireless range, I'd be quite happy for them to "borrow" some of my connection. To paraphrase, "512kb ought to be enough for anybody".
Of course, we did this in Aberdeen, Scotland, three years ago using Cat 5 and a 128k leased line. Out the window of the flat where the line came in, back in my window, a floor below. There were other people going to be added in as well. Never quite got the cable across the street though. Wireless would have been great for that.

Re:What I'm wondering.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2132635)

Of course you'd anly give to friends rather than average-joe-warezdude who spends downloading all day...

Re:What I'm wondering.... (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133892)

  • I have a cable modem, which costs me around £20 per month. A lot of the time I'm not really using it. [...] we did this in Aberdeen, Scotland, three years ago

I'm in the same situation, and am very tempted to set up a consume.net [consume.net] node near Glasgow. The recommended kit is £500 (~$750) plus an old PC. That in itself is not a barrier to entry, but the problem is that I'm in a suburban area (in a ground hollow, even) and the chance of actually finding a consume.net peer is low.

Perhaps the most valuable service that alternative net projects could provide will be to track the (approximate!) geographical locations of live nodes, to encourage people to join, or to start new clusters in the knowledge that they will soon be joined by other peers.

Re:What I'm wondering.... (2, Interesting)

audibility (136433) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139584)

Presumably, a working concept for this would be:

Everyone who has a wired broadband connection sets up a 'base station' ... and only those who set them up are permitted to access the system through their wireless devices.

This should create a 1:1 environment, so it is truly "shared" and apart from density issues (which may be resolved by base station density anyway) there'd be no huge bottlenecking anywhere.

It would certainly be incredible if this could get off the ground in a widespread capacity, and may be the only way wireless broadband will ever be achieved!

(Then again, communism worked in theory)

Community area networks (2, Interesting)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142062)

This article makes me think about the network we are busy with in our hometown. Practically, we are wiring up the neighbourhood with a few good internet connections, and the first signs are very promising

As we live in a densely populated area, running UTP through to neighbours isn't a real problem. The people who want to connect pay a small fee as a compensation to the ones hooked up on the net, and everyone profits. The "clients" get fast, easy and reliable internet for a low cost, the "servers" get to use the other servers connection as a bonus. And the servers run mostly on open OS's (Linux, Open), makes routing the data between servers easy...

Of course, it's not really legal, but it works nicely, and can grow steadily. Long life the rise of the CAN's! ;)

How long.... (0)

Atrax (249401) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142590)

... before these shenanigans get integrated into, and banned by, Terms Of Service agreements for broadband accounts?

Re:How long.... (1)

ttyRazor (20815) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141443)

There's already something to this effect in my comcast ToS, although it's more general than just wireless, and probably had people setting up their own mini-dialup ISPs in mind. I doubt they would (or could) enforce it if it's just a few passersby, but they probably would if one person shared thier connection to everyone in range and they actually used it.

Re:How long.... (0)

Atrax (249401) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141404)

one of my mates is hassling me to dial into my machines to get a piece of my broadband - he gets 56k dial-up for free that way, so he thinks.

luckily for me I have no landline for him to dial in to!

Re:How long.... (2, Informative)

SomeGuyFromCA (197979) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142436)

It already happened. My @Home agreement says "Customer shall not... connect the cable modem to any computer outside of the Customer's premises."

Re:How long.... (1)

anonymous cupboard (446159) | more than 12 years ago | (#2120094)

The cable modem is connected only to arouter on your premises. Everyone knows that we are just talking about a physical connection, don't they?

Re:How long.... (2)

Nurgster (320198) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133627)

Does implicitly state that the cable modem shall not be conencted to a computer outside of your premises?

If so, how the hell do you get online? (The modem *needs* to connect to a computer outside of your premises...)

Another point is this, does it state that only computers on your premises can route data over the modem (that would include things like IP tunneling, SMTP relays etc etc), if not, then there isn't an issue.

Re:How long.... (3, Funny)

Zecho (206792) | more than 12 years ago | (#2145013)

Mine says the same thing... luckily neither my computer or my cable modem will physically be connected to anything outside of my premises!

Replacement for cell phones... (4, Interesting)

helzerr (232770) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143240)

Wouldn't it be nice if these wireless networks became ubiquitous enough that you could use IP telephony software on a handheld as a replacement for cell phones... No roaming and 1440 anytime minutes / day ; )

Re:Replacement for cell phones... (2, Interesting)

lordkuri (514498) | more than 12 years ago | (#2127137)

that's actually a pretty good suggestion for localized uses... almost akin to trunking radio (Motorola, GE/Erricson, etc...) , but the one question I have for you is, what kind of hardware are we talking about? I know that the Visor has a 802.11b module for the springboard slot, and a mic, no speaker tho.... anyone have a suggestion on hardware?

Re:Replacement for cell phones... (1)

gotih (167327) | more than 12 years ago | (#2132709)

there are probably many options but a cassiopeia [casio.com] with a CF 802.11 [branditsystems.com] card should do -- it has an internal mic and a headphone jack. my only concern would be processor speed (the cassio has a 150MHz 'VR4122' which is probably enough) but that will inevitably increase. in the meantime those of us with laptops and can use the built-in mic and headphones.

temporary autonomous zones (3, Interesting)

ideonode (163753) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143241)

This style of 'rebel' tech reminds me of some of the philosophics of Hakim Bey and the Temporary Autonomous Zones line of thinking.

'Cellular' resistance...

Re:temporary autonomous zones (1)

dash2 (155223) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133724)

Hehe. Don't start on Deleuze and Guattari. Deterritorialize the internet with schizological lines of flight... man.

Hopefully... (4, Interesting)

jerw134 (409531) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143732)

No one person on the network is allowed to take up too much bandwidth. I could just picture some teen downloading 20 songs simultainiously off of Napster, while 10 other people are trying to share the bandwidth and getting dial up speeds. They should set up a QOS system, where each person gets a minimum amount of bandwidth, but is still allowed to burst to whatever they might need.

Re:Hopefully... (2)

GregWebb (26123) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139450)

Ooh, not how I'd configure it. That effectively imposes a user cap.

Were I playing with this, it'd be set up with maximum burst rate of (bandwidth / users * 2) for n seconds and maximum of bandwidth / users over the course of any given minute, if and when scheduling comes in to play - or something along those lines, anyway. Most of the time, most of the connections are likely to be entirely idle, after all, so there's no point in artificially restricting when the bandwidth isn't banging headlong into its upper limit.

Re:Hopefully... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2142647)

This obviously isn't a problem - I don't think there are 20 songs left on napster.

A short-lived "Free Lunch" (5, Insightful)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144575)

These "30 volunteers" would soon be branded as "30 inmates" if this ever got popular. Why? they're playing with a cool new technology at the bandwidth expense of of their educational and/or corporate providers.

From the article:

the Washington Square network already exists--thanks to a homemade setup [Mr.] Townsend rigged in late July in his nearby office at NYU, where he's a fellow at the Taub Urban Research Center. Townsend, 27, used an antenna to broadcast his connection a few hundred feet out into the park.

So basically what he's doing is leeching off of NYU's pipes to anyone with a wireless card. Maybe I should look for real estate in his area.

Any college Dorm Network Administrator can tell you how expensive reliable bandwidth is. Last month an unchecked DiVX FTP site here at Rutgers trafficked nearly 15 gigs A DAY, costing the university almost 10 grand in surcharges due to it's "bursty-bandwidth" contract. In short, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Due to its relatively low profile, this wireless project has and will continue to avoid radar screens in city NOCs. Apparently many people dont feel the need to download porn while sitting on park benches :). If they ever do, you can bet people like Mr. Townsend will be disciplined by IT staff, if not fired outright for violating some school network tenet.

Quicky question (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 12 years ago | (#2138339)

I figured after last year's Napster debacle that University dorm networks had started throttling available bandwidth to combat that sort of thing. Didn't Rutgers?
2nd Q: did they catch and kick who was doing the FTP site? :)

Re:A short-lived "Free Lunch" (1)

khuber (5664) | more than 12 years ago | (#2157406)

Please mod this post way up. TANSTAAFL. Somebody has to pay for the routers and land lines, the people maintaining them, and so on.

What would you think if spammers hooked up to TheftNet and started pumping out tons of junk?

Smells like crime to me.


What about WAP... (1)

reverius (471142) | more than 12 years ago | (#2157361)

But... what is to prevent evil corporations from overtaking these rogue networks, now that their encryption is broken? :P

Re:What about WAP... (2)

radja (58949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2125935)

you mean those same evil corporations who also have a wide-open wireless LAN running? oh.. sure.. take over the local's wireless, and they'll just take over yours...


fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2157364)

fp bleh

local networks (2, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 12 years ago | (#2157367)

when will ther be a group like this in the dallas/fort worth metroplex? the DFW area is the ideal area for an open wireless network:

high population density
low precipitation
flat land

with the number of broadband clients in the area, one could dedicate a 20 kb stream to the open network and supply most of the metroplex with free, wireless networking. it'd also make for killer WAN parties : ) i know i've wanted a low-ping game of quake every once in a while with my friends w/in a 1 mi radius...

No, the DFW area is ideal for a nuclear blast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2138819)

a wretched hive of scum and villainy

Re:local networks (1)

reverius (471142) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139067)

This could similarly be applied to Phoenix, Arizona (where I live).

The ground is pretty much flat, due to the city being in a valley.

There is a bit of sprawl though, so not as dense.

I have been waiting for this sort of thing to pop up... it will only be a matter of time now.

Re:local networks (5, Insightful)

voidref (9482) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139071)

These groups will start when -you- start them. Become invloved, get a bunch of people together than want this, pool your money, use the free technology available out there to make it happen.

Re:local networks (1)

reverius (471142) | more than 12 years ago | (#2109734)

Yeah, I know... I was thinking just that when I posted. But there is very little I can do as a high school student.

Eventually i'll be able to contribute to this type of stuff fincancially. :)

Re:local networks (2, Interesting)

voidref (9482) | more than 12 years ago | (#2124658)

Don't forget, there are people who have money and no time or skills, you could provide either of those 2 things while the others provide the financial part.

If you have time, you can contribute.

Re:local networks (1)

reverius (471142) | more than 12 years ago | (#2132900)

Well... there is the part about time.

I am taking 5 AP classes in high school this year. I'll be lucky if I still have time to read slashdot in about 2 weeks. :)

But you're right. I should look into possibilities for this. I'm just lazy, and i'll admit it.

Re:local networks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2144573)

Dude, it you go to college in AZ, you sure as hell better go to UofA rather than ASU.

Re:local networks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2138340)

But the again /. bigots only take+steal and never contribute. just look at napster,deCSS et al.

Re:local networks (1)

Zecho (206792) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141406)

Hey Hadlock.. I live in the Hulen area.. maybe you and I could beam our cable modems at each other and see who gets anything in between us!

Sounds tasty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2157374)

What kind of coffee does motley crew beans produce?

Re:Sounds tasty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2157362)

kike coffee

Re:Sounds tasty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2119805)

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