Below is a comparison table listing features and prices of the Fonera 2.0 and its closest competitors. Companies like ASUS, Planex, D-Link, Belkin and Linksys all sell wireless routers with USB ports and storage features, but none of these provides the same functionality  as the Fonera 2.0 and none can match its 49€ price. This makes the Fonera 2.0 the best deal on the market if you are looking for a smart router that not only gives you wifi, but also allows you to share hard drives, printers and webcams in your network and delegate your downloading and uploading activities to an inexpensive tiny router, letting you keep your PC off while downloading at night, helping you save money and reduce carbon emissions.

The closest competitors for the Fonera 2.0 are WiFi routers from Planex and ASUS that let you download files from BitTorrent to a USB hard drive and share a printer on your network. Both lack most of the Fonera 2.0’s features, like Youtube, Flickr and Picasa uploaders, out-of-the-box support for 3G modems and the Megaupload and Rapidshare downloaders. Both ASUS and Planex products let you stream your files to iTunes equipped PCs or media devices and we’ll soon release the same iTunes server functionality for the Fonera 2.0. On top of that, the Fonera 2.0, like a normal Fonera, lets you  share some of your bandwidth at home, make some money with your WiFi connection and roam the world for free. This unique feature is not available in any other router. The Fonera continues to be the only social router in the world.

Planex BitTorrent routers are hard to find in Europe or the US (or at least I couldn’t find recent pricing information for them), while the ASUS WL-500g Premium and its bigger brother, the WL-700 (equipped with a 250GB drive), cost respectively around 100€ and 220€. The other routers in the table provide only basic file sharing features and nonetheless all cost more then our Fonera 2.0. The Belkin N+ router and D-Link DIR-855 offer greater coverage thanks to the 802.11n standard, that the Fonera 2.0 (which is 802.11g) can beat using our Fontennas. We decided to keep the price of the Fonera low by not including a hard drive as there are 1 tera HDD now for only 99 euros. The Fonera works best with a USB 2.0 hub so you can combine pen drives, hard drives, web cams, 3G dongles, or whatever USB device you fancy.


Besides being an exciting gadget, the Fonera 2.0 helps you reduce some of the CO2 you generate in your digital life. The Fonera 2.0 is Green because you can save energy moving your long time consuming tasks from your notebook or desktop to your Fonera 2.0 router, allowing you to shut down your computer while Fonera 2.0 does the uploading and downloading.

When we leave our computers on at night, doing long uploads of our videos to YouTube, or downloading huge files with BitTorrent, our notebook or desktop cannot go to standby mode and wastes from 10 to 100W of electricity – 10W is what we would consume with a very energy efficient notebook with its screen off, and 100W is with a not-so-efficient Core Duo desktop PC using a screen saver with the monitor on. And multiply all this for an entire night, for as many nights as we leave it on!

With the new Fonera 2.0 executing all these uploading/downloading tasks, and with a USB HDD attached to it, you will only consume from 2.95W to 3.85W (depending on HDD model).

This means that, in the worst case scenario, you will reduce to 1/3rd the CO2 emissions that our uploading/downloading generates and if you are replacing an average desktop PC, CO2 emissions using the Fonera 2.0 will be reduced up to 30 times.

So, all of us at FON that have been developing this piece of equipment for quite a while, feel happy that this social router that manages your relationship with the web 2.0 is also greener than any alternative to upload and downlaod.

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In Spanish, we use the phrase “sentido de la orientación” all the time. In English, you can speak about a sense of direction or my preferred, though rarely used term, “sense of orientation.” Being an entrepreneur, I think that what is most needed, is a sense of orientation…in business. It is interesting that now researchers are finding out how the sense of orientation works.

Here´s a summary:

To orient ourselves, we mainly need two pieces of information: where am I and in which direction am I heading? Experiments in the rat have shown that these types of information are directly accessible and independently coded in the brain. When the rat explores a new territory, so-called place cells and head direction cells form within only a few minutes. Place cells are active when the rat visits a particular area, no matter which direction it is facing. In contrast, head direction cells code the direction the rat is heading, independent of where it is. Also humans presumably have these and other types of cells which specifically instruct its sense of orientation. Scientists around Mathias Franzius and Laurenz Wiskott from the Humboldt-University and Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin (Germany) have now developed a theoretical model that can explain the emergence of all orientation-specific cells that are known in rats and primates to date.

Now my personal experience is that most successful entrepreneurs I know have a very good sense of orientation. Many are pilots, skippers, mountain bikers. When I have gone cycling in the mountains with top entrepreneurs like Sergey Brin, Niklas Zennstrom, Michael Dell and others, I have found that they are all very aware of the two key variables that manage orientation: knowing where you are and knowing where you are headed. Loic LeMeur, founder of Seesmic, is an amazing pilot. Needless to say that, in business, knowing where you are and knowing were you are headed is essential.

Moreover, I am convinced that the sense of orientation is not equally divided among men and women and, since I don´t run Harvard University, I can say so. The women entrepreneurs that I know, though, do seem to have a great sense of orientation. I know that there´s nothing scientific about commenting on my life experience and coming to conclusions but for whatever is worth it is what I observe. Emily Cinader, founder of J Crew for example, who was my girlfriend in the 80s when I was at Columbia University, is not only an outstanding entrepreneur, but she definitely knows her way around.

At the same time, there seems to be a genetic component to the sense of orientation. I have a good sense of orientation and so do my four children. The two boys and the two girls. Recently I have been observing the sense of orientation of Leo, my two year old son and it is uncanny. Leo can barely talk, but he can walk, find a water fountain that he saw in a park the previous week, which is out of sight and 200 meters away from him. He just says agua and goes for it. I follow.

I hope one day we understand much more about how we orient ourselves.

I am not on medication and have never been. But I did go to verbal therapy for 8 years ending in 2001. I found it long but mostly useful.

Before I used to think that therapy was for when you had some problems career wise or relationship wise. And medication was for people who were really messed up. But now more and more I hear of friends who are on medication. It seems that medication is the new therapy. That there are many choices and that they work. That the stigma is gone. I wonder if there are reliable numbers of what percentage of the population of the EU, or USA are on medication on a regular basis.

In this video I show how the process works. It works the same way as the Youtube uploader and the soon to be deployed Picasa uploader. You create a folder called flickr in a pen drive, you put your pictures in the pen drive and when you take out the pen drive from your computer and stick it in your Fonera 2.0 wifi router the Fonera automatically sends your pictures to Flickr in private mode. All this while you do something else in the computer.

The Fonera 2.0 will go for sale in Europe for 49 euros in mid April.

And in this set you will see family members acting as photo shoot models for the pictures that were uploaded.

In the video at the bottom I show the main features of the Fonera 2.0, our new social router that is being manufactured in China and for which we are already accepting reservations in our online shop. Initially we’re going to price it €49 (around 66$). The Fonera 2.0 not only lets you share some of your bandwidth at home, make money with your WiFi connection and roam the world for free, it also lets you manage your storage, backup, uploading and downloading activities and connect your HSDPA or 3G USB Dongle and emit WiFi. More details.

With the Fonera 2.0 you can:

– backup your files

– download files from BitTorrent to your hard drive without a PC

– download files from Rapidshare and Megaupload without a PC

– upload videos to Youtube from any USB pen drive, without you having to use your PC. We’ll soon add support for Picasa and Flickr.

– share a printer or access a remote webcam using WiFi and your Fonera

– access, manage and share a hard drive via WiFi

-upload tons of pictures at once to Flickr without needing to have your laptop. You just put the pictures in a pen drive in a folder named Flickr and the Fonera recognizes it and sends your pictures to Flickr.

-connect your HSDPA or 3G USB dongle from most 3G providers in the world and emit WiFi. As you know the biggest problem with 3G is that is personal.

The main reason to use a Fonera 2.0 for your uploads and downloads is that you can have an inexpensive and small gadget do the work for you instead of having to keep your laptop or fixed PC on all the time to do the same operations. There are also significant environmental reasons. The Fonera 2.0 can let you save a lot of energy: a PC downloading/uploading to the Web uses around 40W, while the Fonera doing the same thing uses 6W.

The fact the Fonera is based on open source helps a great deal in growing apps that can be added to this first social and now smart wifi router. We invite developers to code any kind of application for it. We have a special developer-mode for them.

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Here´s an explanatory video in which I alternate in tone between being a sound reviewer of my product and sounding like rabid salesman.

Or one in Spanish that it´s slightly better.

And if you want to help us decide if we should stick to the Fonera 2.0 name or use another one here´s a poll to give us a hand.

Here are the stats on market share. And here on traffic. They are not totally consistent. But they give you and idea. I do not know if the internet traffic off iPhones is a combination of WiFi traffic and mobile network traffic. I suppose so.

Maybe I am the eternal optimist, but I am one of those convinced that the US real estate market is not as bad as the markets that price mortgages think. And now that the US government is seeking buyers for a trillion of those assets going for private equity funds and hedge funds, I wonder this: Why do I have to pay somebody a 20% commission to buy those assets? Why can´t I buy those assets directly? Why doesn´t the US government create securities with, say, face value of $10K each, made of a diversified, countrywide pool of those assets and sell them retail?

The British have a way with words; they appointed Tom Watson, the man with the most unoriginal name, to the most original job: minister of digital engagement. Good news is that Tom Watson loves open source.

Cover of "In Bruges"
Cover of In Bruges

I recently wrote a post called the Shortened Life Index in which I argued that both suicide and homicide are highly cultural. In some cultures homicide is common, as in the Caribbean for example, and in others suicide is common, as in Japan. If you consider suicide violence or ultimately murder against yourself it is more dangerous to live in Switzerland than in my native Argentina. Or in Japan than in Spain as in both countries the suicide rates are extremely high. And personally I considered both suicide and homicide a similar phenomenom and created an index that showed country per country what happens when you add the suicide and homicide rates. I called it the Shortened Life Index but I am opened to any other sugestions as far as the right name for it. The point though is that you can be more dangerous than any other person when it gets to calculating the risk of a shortened life. You probably heard that you are much more likely to get murdered by somebody you know than by a stranger, well this is the same point taken to an extreme.

Now it so happens that I just saw a film that argued exactly the same point. It´s called In Bruges. It´s pretty good. And without spoiling it, as I recommend seeing it, this movie makes the point that there is an intersection between suicide and homicide. All its main characters alternate between suicidal and homicidal moments.

Interestingly though, most people don´t see suicide as self murder.

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