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October 05, 2007

Shared wi-fi

The UK Guardian reports that BT is encouraging its customers to share their broadband (Share your wi-fi in return for free access abroad, BT tells customers).  I'm not totally convinced by how well this will work in practice - why would I want wi-fi access in a residential street somewhere in Europe? - though it is quite a neat idea if they can pull it off.

There are technical issues as well.  In my house for example, a fairly substantial bath stone terrace building constructed at the beginning of the last century, you have to be standing in my garden to get any chance of a signal.  Generally I can only work on wireless from inside the house.

I do wonder if slightly more informal cooperative approaches to shared broadband would work?  A street getting together and sharing 5 connections between 10 houses or some such - configuring routers to optimise traffic flow dynamically.  Clearly there would be some privacy and other issues to contend with.

Or on an even smaller scale, neighbors agreeing to offer a backup broadband service to each other in the event of one or other broadband connection going down.  I've been meaning to suggest this to my neighbor for some time - we can see each other's networks OK, presumably because our partition walls are thinner than the outside walls - but haven't got round to it yet.

At the other end of the spectrum, O'Reilly Radar reports: WiFi: Record Range Now 382 KM.  Not in my house it isn't!


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Maybe something along the lines of Mesh networking? http://research.microsoft.com/mesh/

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