Industry News

Open Wireless Movement Encourages Sharing Your Wi-Fi

Open Wireless Movement Encourages Sharing Your Wi-Fi

Open Wireless Movement Encourages Sharing Your Wi-FiA group of activists launched an initiative, dubbed the Open Wireless Movement, to encourage users to open their private Wi-Fi networks to anyone wanting to check email or online messages on the go, according to the group’s website.

“We are aiming to build technologies that would make it easy for Internet subscribers to portion off their wireless networks for guests and the public while maintaining security, protecting privacy, and preserving quality of access,” the site reads.

The group has designed an Open Wireless Router that allows Wi-Fi owners to allocate a small portion of the bandwidth to strangers without requiring a password. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says sharing will not affect the browsing experience of the owner, who will retain priority over others.

Also, the firmware will allow guest networking, which means the owner’s private Wi-Fi can be isolated behind a firewall from other guests. This will ban sharing between guest users and prevent traffic sniffing of the main network. For extra security, they recommend the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension.

Regarding taking accountability for illegal actions, the EFF also believes the movement will make it more difficult to tie an IP address to an individual.

“Free Wi-Fi everywhere is one of the biggest dreams of mobile users around the world. However, some governments don’t see it that way, as they associate IP addresses with identities and would hold their owner accountable for the traffic originating from that IP. What’s more, countries such as Romania are pushing to force hotspot users to identify themselves when connecting to free networks. It’s another example when technology makes big things possible, but the legal framework acts against the best interest of the user,”says Bogdan Botezatu, Senior E-Threat Analyst.

The project’s site, OpenWireless.org, is supported by organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Free Press, Mozilla, and Fight for the Future. It targets individual users, small businesses, ISPs and developers.

“Open wireless will allow innovators to imagine what they can do with always-on, cheap connectivity regardless of where a person is physically” and make possible “amazing new technologies,” the group says.

About the author

Alexandra GHEORGHE

Alexandra started writing about IT at the dawn of the decade - when an iPad was an eye-injury patch, we were minus Google+ and we all had Jobs. She has since wielded her background in PR and marketing communications to translate binary code to colorful stories that have been known to wear out readers' mouse scrolls. Alexandra is also a social media enthusiast who 'likes' only what she likes and LOLs only when she laughs out loud.

3 Comments

Click here to post a comment
  • Everyone that do WIFI for organization or business knows that this saying is untrue. You CAN isolate network, you can maximize priority to host user, however you cannot allocate wifi. It’s not same as LAN standard. What this paper is saying is that user can download something (email, web, etc.) and when host tries to download it will relocate that resources to host. This is untrue. Packet per second in wifi term is different and wifi spectrum gets saturated by it. So host user might be in situation where user cannot even connect to wifi due to channel usage. I think it’s good thing but with this in mind there is few legal issues as well. User should log all connections, etc, etc…. it’s not that simple and it will be expensive.

    • Hi Denis,

      If you can do QoS over LAN, you can also do it via Wi-Fi. Isolation is also simple, simply set up a different VLAN for unknown hosts and you’re all set.

      Thanks!

      • Hi Alexandra,

        No, that’s not the way it works. you CAN do QoS, and I do it, but it’s mere optimization, you cannot do real QoS cause it’s live frequency spectrum. One user can saturate wifi entirely. Isolation is indeed simple.