Fon is “share a little WiFi at home and roam the world for free”. This proposition has intrigued over half a million people around the world with over 1000 signing up every day. My friend Yossi Vardi introduced me to a new company that he invested in called WeFi who wants to achieve a similar objective to Fon but with a different method. The idea of WeFi is that some people go wardriving looking for open wifi routers and report them in a map. Then other users validate that this or that router is indeed open by connecting to it. At Fon we had a similar idea but we discarded it because we were concerned about not knowing whether somebody had left a WiFi router open willingly or not. Nor could we certify the quality of that router and we were concerned about the breach of security of people surfing inside other people´s networks. But WeFi went ahead with a beautifully designed web site and provided that these issues do not turn out to be a real problem Fon is in favor of collaborating with WeFi as we are with Meraki, Whisher and any other efforts that lead to more WiFi coverage.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter:

No Comments

Haim Ac on November 30, 2007  · 


The English version of this article seems to go directly to the critical point. Maybe the key word here is “willingness”, and it is missing in the Spanish version.
I believe is that if you tell someone that his internet service is unencrypted and open to everybody, his first reaction would be to do something to block unknown users. After all, he is paying for the service, and also he may have security concerns (as you commented it)

However, I would share my internet if I get something in return, such as advertising revenues (?), or commissions on transactions done trough my network (?), or even a simpler deal: I setup and maintain the home equipment (wifi router) open to everybody, and you provide the internet service for free.

The example above is opposite to the Fon methodology, sharing part of your bandwidth, only getting in return a shared bandwidth elsewhere. The concept seems to be great in Spain and some countries in Europe. I am waiting to see how it does in America, where I have my doubts. America is geographically bigger and culturally opposed to something like the Fon sharing concept.

But, hey! Who am I to say anything, anyway?



3.0 rating

Roetzen on December 3, 2007  · 

Be advised that using someone’s network without his/her prior consent is
illegal in many countries, including The Netherlands. Even if it is completely
unprotected. It would appear that in those countries WeFi sollicits illegal
behaviour. So be careful who you collaborate with.

3.0 rating

steven on December 3, 2007  · 

Haim, if you are a “bill” you can get 50% of daypasses bought by aliens; and 5 cent for showing advertisements…
both linus/bill can indeed roam for free.

Wardriving has indeed an “illegal” karakter…some even write signs(warchalking) on the street that the house is unprotected
as explained on :

3.0 rating

steven on December 3, 2007  · 


sharing wifi using a Client
Pro : any wireless device can offer (free) wifi …no firmware needs to be developed for each model/brand on the market
Contra : the client needs to be ported to as many platforms you want to support (windows, mac, linux, nokia, mobile, iphone?)
* Whisher is an “instant messaging” approach of adding hotspots -> Windows xp&vista/MacOSX/Linux
* Wefi is a “wardriving” approach of adding hotspots… -> only Windows XP sp2
* Devicescape using the “buddy” system -> Windows xp&vista&mobile, Nokia tablet&smartphone, mac, …
-> technically they just keep a WPA/WEP/public keys in their database and share it with you using DNS tunneling protocols and/or encrypted local databases

meraki is using “meshing” technology… eg not everybody needs to have an internet connection…they can also offer a “good spot” and act as a repeater… No client is needed… works also like a captive portal just like fon…
Technically you can install Meraki on a Fon and Fon on a Meraki…

The creator of the Universal Repeater script is currently working on implementing meshing on a Fonera :
and has copied the dashboard from meraki 🙂

3.0 rating

Leave a Comment

Español / English

Subscribe to e-mail bulletin:
Recent Tweets