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This discussion has been archived.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: 5, Interesting) by Foobar Bazbot on Thursday March 06 2014, @07:00AM

    by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Thursday March 06 2014, @07:00AM (#11808) Journal

    If all channels are used, then doubling up any one of them will more than halve throughput of both.

    In general, yes. Because if I have two APs, one 10m east of the other, then a client that's way off to the east, so that it's just in range of the east one, isn't in range of the west one at all -- so the west one doesn't hear it, talks over top of it, and causes packet loss. The normal 802.11 solution to the hidden node problem, rts/cts, doesn't work here; it depends on the AP knowing the channel state, and the west AP doesn't know about the far-east client it can't hear.

    But that's not how it works when you use the same AP to provide two SSIDs. The AP can hear all connected clients, no matter which SSID they're connected to, so RTS/CTS works fine. Aggregate throughput of the two SSIDs is essentially the same as for a single SSID. (Yes, beacon frames eat up a tiny bit, but you could just halve the beacon rate to get that back...)

    (There are also ways of coordinating independent APs that share a wired connection to minimize this and other problems. Enterprise-class wifi solutions (from e.g. Juniper Networks) can do that, cable-company-provided modem/router/ap boxes absolutely don't. But it doesn't matter here, because it's a single AP and can therefore always hear all connected clients.)

    Its attempting to use a private persons resources including electricity to provide internet to others.

    It is, although the electrical use is so small as to be ridiculous to squabble over. The only real resource that it's a real problem for is the 2.4GHz band, which is already clogged to death. Even though this particular thing carries next to no intrinsic penalty (as explained above), any passerby using it when the cable subscriber wants maximum throughput or minimal latency is degrading their WLAN connection's utility. That's not particularly bad, since the same diminution of utility (if not worse) would arise from any other way of giving that passerby a 2.4GHz WLAN connection.

    Expect an increase in sales of conductive paint and ethernet cables. Failing that, turning the damn thing off when not being used or a metal can over the antenna.

    I hope not. I hope people will let Comcast roll out publicly-accessible (and way overpriced, unless my guesses as to the traffic cap on that $20/week plan are way off) 2.4 GHz internet access, but buy their own 5 GHz AP and move their WLAN to that, entirely avoiding the tragedy of the commons that is the 2.4GHz band. Not only is there way more bandwidth available, but it intrinsically limits the area within which networks can interfere in built-up areas (the very ones where congestion is worst); 5GHz has the nice characteristic of being partially blocked by typical walls, such that it works well enough in the next room over, but falls off by the time you're two apartments over. We'll all be better off if most people move to 5GHz for most stuff, reserving the limited bandwidth in the 2.4GHz band for the few who actually need it (whether for compatibility with old hardware, because they actually do have more absorbent/numerous walls to get through, or whatever).

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +3  
       Interesting=2, Informative=1, Total=3
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (Score: 1) by gottabeme on Thursday March 06 2014, @07:14PM

    by gottabeme (1531) on Thursday March 06 2014, @07:14PM (#12134)

    Hey man, I just gotta say, thanks for putting that in your sig. This is amazing. Why bother to rewrite Slash to do AJAX when this script works fine and FAST! So nice to not have to go back and forth between pages to read replies.

    • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Thursday March 06 2014, @07:37PM

      by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Thursday March 06 2014, @07:37PM (#12151) Journal

      Why bother to rewrite Slash to do AJAX when this script works fine and FAST!

      Why bother? well, for one thing, I haven't had much luck with userscripts on Android. Supposedly Opera Labs handles them, but this one loads, but doesn't work right; there's a dedicated browser (oilcan?) that runs userscripts, but none of the other Android browsers (at least the ones I already use) handle it at all, and I'm not keen to add another one, especially on my wristwatch.

      But for desktops, yeah, it's great. Can't take much credit, as I just tweaked a couple lines to make it work with modern browsers (instead of 2008 browsers) and to match SN instead of /., but I'm glad it's helping people.