Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by Dopefish on Thursday March 06 2014, @01:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.

Papas Fritas writes:

"Robert Channick reports at the Chicago Tribune that Comcast is set to turn hundreds of thousands of Chicago-area homes into wi-fi hot spots, using existing Comcast equipment to build out its publicly accessible wireless network.

The neighborhood hot spots initiative, rolling out during the next several months, will send a separate Wi-Fi signal from Comcast-issued home equipment, enabling anyone within range to get online. Soon, entire residential blocks will begin to show as hot spots on Xfinity's Wi-Fi mobile app. Because the Comcast subscriber's signal will be kept separate from the second, publicly available signal, the subscriber's speed and privacy shouldn't be affected. 'They'll look like two separate networks and they'll act like two separate networks,' says Tom Nagel. 'Any use on the public side doesn't impact the private side.' Once the dual-mode modems are activated remotely by Comcast, visitors will use their own Xfinity credentials to sign on, and will not need the homeowner's permission or password to tap into the public Wi-Fi signal.

Non-subscribers will get two free hours a month; beyond that, they can access Xfinity Wi-Fi on a per-use basis. Rates run from $2.95 per hour to $19.95 per week, according to Comcast. Xfinity subscribers can travel from hot spot to hot spot in this case, from home to home without needing to log on again through their mobile device. 'The Utopian ideal of a massive, free Wi-Fi network has been around since the early days of Wi-Fi, but there was never an economically viable path to deliver it,' says Craig Moffett. 'Comcast has a better shot at it than just about anybody else.'"

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06 2014, @02:44AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06 2014, @02:44AM (#11668)

    I don't think that more usage = harm. If it's too expensive then no one would use it and it should not use up too much bandwidth. If people use it then it is providing utility to those that do use it. If the problem is that there isn't enough wireless bandwidth to serve everyone's needs then the laws of supply and demand would lead to the optimal economic solution. (and I do think this program is way overpriced due to a lack of competition in the broadband market).

    If this service does result in a net consumption of more bandwidth that's actually a good thing because that's enabling the usage of more bandwidth that was previously unused and that extra usage provides more utility (after all, people wouldn't use it if it doesn't provide utility). Preventing this program only serves to (artificially) limit the usage of available bandwidth.

    Of course there are other issues to work out. I want my router giving me priority and only providing others with bandwidth to the extent that it doesn't take away from my bandwidth (ie: when I'm not using it maybe). I want it to be secure so that I can't get blamed for the actions of others and I don't want to enable others to access my home network (they can have a separate network, kinda like how wireless routers have a guest network). I don't want them being able to surf the Internet with my IP address (yes, IP addresses are dynamic but, for the most part, mine may go weeks or months without changing). Perhaps those using the wifi of others can be assigned a separate set of IP addresses that are different from those that aren't.

    Another issue maybe that when someone else uses your neighbors wireless and you're too far from your wireless that extra usage interferes with your ability to use your own wireless. So there is harm it could do but that's not to say it can't do any good either.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06 2014, @02:54AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06 2014, @02:54AM (#11682)

    (same poster, sorry)

    Also, that last criticism can be mitigated if the wireless router is programmed to not provide external guests with bandwidth when other routers are using that bandwidth (the other routers presumably being those using their own routers).

    The ISP may also enable me to freely use some of the routers surrounding my house and to have priority over external guests (but not over the owners of those routers) who don't live in the neighborhood (they can provide me with some way of authenticating myself) so that when I am far away from my computer but within my house and a neighbor's router may provide me with better service my device would automatically switch to the neighbor's router.