Philips VOIP841 Skype VOIP DECT Phone

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.

Not clear whether piggybacking on Wifi is illegal

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.

Wireless Data Comparison

Since I last surveyed Canadian options for high speed wireless data:

– Rogers has raised the cap on its top EDGE plan (C$100) from 100 MB to 200 MB
– Bell and Telus have imposed caps (250 MB) on their EVDO 1x plans (C$100) which can be expected to provide better performance than currently available EDGE technology

Meanwhile, the US cellular carriers continue to offer uncapped high speed data plans at lower rates than their Canadian counterparts:

– T-mobile EDGE (US$49.99)
– Cingular EDGE (US$60 with voice plan, $80 without)
– Verizon EVDO 1x (US$60 with voice plan)

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

P2P TV Coming Soon?

According to the Business 2.0 Blog, the people who brought us Napster and Skype now want to bring us a peer-to-peer television service. While there are already a number of TV over-the-internet services already available, a P2P based service would save on the huge bandwidth costs.