Fon is trying very hard to provide free WiFi, worldwide. They’re a startup that’s a little over a year old. They can provide you with a wireless access point (WAP) which you can install in your home or business, making part of your bandwidth available (via WiFi) to other Fon users. And it’s actually two WAPs in one: a public one which you share and a private one which you don’t.
So, a couple of questions immediately occurred to me when I heard about this:
Q. What do you get in return?
A. You can get free WiFi access through all the other Fon sites around the world.
Q. Where are Fons installed?
A. Take a look at their maps. Within a couple of miles of my workplace, I found 5 hotels and a couple of restaurants that offer Fon access.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. You can buy one at their shop for $29.95 plus tax or you can go here and sign up for a free one. The only catch to the free WAP is that you must promise to either install it and use it or pass it on to a someone who will.
Q. Is it secure?
A. The public side uses no encryption BUT you must login through Fon’s web site to be granted access to the web. The private side uses WPA by default (i.e. very secure depending on your key).
Q. Who’s connecting through the public side of my WAP?
A. You can use the Fon site to see who and when.
Q. How much bandwidth must I share?
A. You can configure it through the Fon site.
I ordered one last week and received it today. I’ll be setting it up a little later in the week. A friend of mine from the UK ordered his last week and should be receiving it shortly. Another local friend ordered one last week and it should be here any time, now. I’ll post more when I have some experience with the WAP (called “La Fonera”). In the meantime, I suggest you check them out — www.fon.com