Category Archives: WiFi

Personal VPNs offer protection when using Wi-Fi hotspots

A number of personal VPN services are available to protect users of public wi-fi hotspots or even wired hotel networks where data can also be intercepted:

– AnchorFree’s HotspotShield (free)
HotspotVPN ($8.88-$13.88/month) – PPTP or IPSec
– JWire’s SpotLock ($39/year) being replaced with Hotspot Helper ($25/year or 30 minutes free per day)
PublicVPN ($59/year)
– Witopia’s PersonalVPN ($39/year) – IPSec

Belkin Skype-Compatible VOIP Wi-Fi Phone

According to Untangled Life it looks like Belkin may also be developing a Skype-Compatible VOIP Wi-Fi Handset. Let’s hope they have enough sense to also build in a mini web browser so that the phone can be used at public hotspots that require authentication (a deficiency of the soon-to-be-shipped Netgear Skype Wifi handset). The ideal handset would have the web browser of the Linksys WIP 330 phone combined with Skype-software from the Netgear or Belkin phone.

Rogers offers Portable Internet

Rogers is now offering “portable Internet” service based on pre-WiMax technology in 20 cities across Canada. The 2.5 Gigahertz solution offers 1.5Mbps downstream speeds and 256kbps up, with a 30Gig monthly cap, for $49.95 / month (modem costs $100). “Portable” means the modem still needs to be plugged in, so its not the same as mobile.

Apparently, Rogers Communications and Bell Canada (the cable guys and the phone company) have pooled their licensed wireless broadband spectrum into a new company – Inukshuk Internet – which will build and operate the network. Expectation is that within three years, they will be able to offer service to two-thirds of Canadians (40 cities and approximately 50 rural and remote communities). Although Rogers and Bell will share bandwidth, each will compete for its own subscribers.

See: via Daily Wireless, quoting DSL Reports and Digital Home Canada

Canada’s Telecommunications Policy Review Panel recommends statutory protection for network neutrality

Canada’s Telecommunications Policy Review Panel issued its final report. The report makes a number of other recommendations to reduce or eliminate the current level of CRTC economic regulation. The report also recommends a new approach to control anti-competitive conduct in telecommunications markets on the basis of complaints made on an ex post basis, rather than by prescribing detailed ex ante restrictions governing the provision of services. However, with respect to network neutrality, the Panel considered it important to ensure that Canadian consumers are not denied access to the wide range of new and innovative Internet services.

The report notes that there is a growing concern that increasingly deregulated telecommunications service providers could, for strategic competitive reasons, decide to block or limit access to some Internet applications and content. Therefore the Panel recommends that the Telecommunications Act should confirm the right of Canadian consumers to access publicly available Internet applications and content by means of all public telecommunications networks that provide access to the Internet. … The Panel believes telecommunications service providers in most cases have little or no incentive to interfere with customer access. However, the principle of open access to the Internet is sufficiently important that it justifies a new regulatory provision to ensure that it is maintained.

This will be good news to VOIP service providers, and other Internet content providers, who are concerned about ISPs blocking access to their content or services or reducing the priority of their traffic.