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WIFI these days is usually a rip-off. Picture this scenario: you walk into a Starbucks, buy a cup of coffee, sit down, and open your laptop. The little window pops up asking whether you want to connect to the WIFI network. Yes, of course, you do! You tell your computer so, it connects, and you open your browser. But then, alas, you discover that all is not right. The page is asking you to log in. It turns out you have to pay $10 for the privilege of using WIFI in that particular Starbucks on that particular day.
Obviously, this is a problem, or else a business opportunity, depending on how you look at it. A Spanish Company called FON has seen it as the latter and has come up with a clever system. It works like this: People, especially those who live near places like the aforementioned Starbucks, by, or in some cases are even given, a wireless router. They then set up their connection so as to split the bandwidth two ways: as much as they want for themselves, and the rest for whoever else wants it. But, there’s a catch: To access the unencrypted half, the public half, you have to pay a small fee, $2 or $3, which is, after all, a lot less than the $10 T-Mobile is charging you. You pay the fee, and the guy with the wireless router in the apartment next to the Starbucks, who has so generously split his Internet connection with you takes the most of it, and FON takes the remainder. Furthermore, the guy in the apartment next to the Starbucks has three WIFI from any other FON network anywhere else. The next time he’s sitting in some faraway Starbucks with his laptop, he can mooch off the local FON connection free of charge.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “wouldn’t it be nice to be that guy in the apartment next to the Starbucks?” Yes, indeed it would! If you live next to a Starbucks, or anyplace else where people get ripped off for WIFI (or where there’s no WIFI at all -do live near a park?) You too can have a FON router. Here’s how.
Go to FON’s website. There, when you sign up, you can get a wireless router for $20. Get it home, set it up, and you’re in business! To add strength and reliability to your connection, you may also want to try using superboost wifi. This will give you a convenient way of connection.
There is a catch, however. Although when you buy your DSL connection you’re paying for a certain amount of bandwidth, your internet service provider doesn’t usually expect that you will be using all of it all the time. Therefore, many ISPs do not want you to use your Internet connection to create a public WIFI hotspot, and in fact many have clauses in their terms of service that stipulate that they can cancel your service if they find you’re doing such. Before buying a router from FON, make sure that it’s OK with your ISP. Some ISPs may allow you to set up a WIFI hotspot if you pay extra. If this is the case, it is only worth it if you live somewhere that will get you a lot of WIFI traffic. Alternately, if you can switch to an ISP that allows you to set up a hot spot.
If you’re in a position to, by all means, do set up a FON hotspot! In doing so, you’ll be a great benefit to the WIFI-weary world.