Free use of OneZone in downtown Toronto, provided by Toronto Hydro Telecom, came to an end last month. Users can now purchase access by the hour, day or month (CDN$4.99, 9.99 and 29.99 respectfully plus PST and GST – or about 30-50% less than the Bell/Telus/Rogers HotSpot service).
I recently acquired one of Belkin’s new Skype Wi-Fi handsets and had an opportunity to conduct some testing. Overall, I am not happy with the results and have compiled a list of issues that I have identified.
Continue reading Belkin Skype Wi-Fi Phone – disappointing results
I’ve seen businesses, particular food establishments, offer wi-fi as a means of differentiating themselves from their competition or to stay competitive with their competition. However, on a recent visit to Bagel Nosh in Santa Monica, California, I noticed a sign that read “wifi free zone”. Since they did not appear to have any usable signals within their establishment, I assume the notice meant “wifi-free zone” rather than “wifi free-zone”. In other words, they were purporting to offer a place to sit and drink a coffee without being bothered by other customers typing away on their laptops. Well, except those that have high speed broadband service from their cellular provider. And why pick on wifi. Cellphone users can be much more of an annoyance. So is this just a gimmick?
I was recently looking at acquiring a Linksys WIP 330 voip wi-fi handset. As far as I know, its the only voip wi-fi handset that has a built-in web browser that can be used to authenticate through public hotspots that require users to accept a click through agreement. So for example, if someone wanted to use any of the free public wi-fi facilities in Burbank, West Hollywood, Santa Monica or similar cities, or wanted to use a paid public wi-fi network such as T-mobile’s, then this is currently the only way to go.
Continue reading Linksys WIP 330 voip wifi handset
Toronto Hyrdo Telecom recently launched the initial phase of their OneZone wi-fi service in downtown Toronto. Access is free during the first 6 months but you’ll need to provide a cell phone number if you want to try out the service. The sign up process sends an SMS message with the new user’s username and password.
Continue reading Toronto Wi-Fi – Toronto Hydro Telecom’s OneZone
Road warriors may be interested in hField Technologies’ Wi-Fire – a USB wi-fi client with a built-in directional antenna designed to provide enhanced performance over longer distances. Similar features are promised by the Hawking Techbnologies HWU8DD Hi-Powered USB Wireless-G Adapter. Unfortunately, neither company is clear about how much RF power their devices put out.
Philips is apparently joining Netgear, Belkin and others in announcing PC-less cordless Skpe-compatible handsets. However, unlike Netgear and Belkin, who have announced wi-fi based handsets, the Philips offering will be based on DECT standards. Sounds like that means it will operate like a home cordless phone but without the need for a PC. For more information, see PCWorld.
I wonder when we will actually see these devices available for sale. In May and June, Netgear starting taking pre-orders for a June 30th launch. However, its now 2 months later and they are still not shipping.
The current version of Califoria Assembly Bill 2415, as last amended on August 21, 2006, may make it much more difficult to prosecute someone who piggybacks off someone else’s wi-fi service that is not password protected.
It states that:
There is disagreement as to whether it is legal for someone to use another person’s WiFi connection to browse the Internet if the owner of the WiFi connection has not put a password on it. While Section 502 of the Penal Code prohibits the unauthorized access to computers, computer systems, and computer data, authorized use is determined by the specific circumstances of the access. There are also federal laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. Sec. 1030 et seq.), that prohibit the intentional access to a computer without authorization.