[isf-wifidog] Re: ilesansfil, wifidog,
wireless toronto in a vancouver article
max.horvath at maxspot.de
Mer 21 Déc 19:39:23 EST 2005
Is there a contact to BCWN?
Are we going to get those changes committed?
Am 21.12.2005 um 16:46 schrieb Michael Lenczner:
> "While the city governments ponder the issue, activist groups
> across the
> continent spread the word about free wireless access through the
> grassroots. In Toronto, there are two organizations working towards a
> free wireless network: Wireless Toronto and the Toronto Wireless
> Community Network. Montreal has Île sans Fil, which created the open
> source application WifiDog for managing wireless access.
> . . . .
> But businesses often lack the technical skill to prevent malicious
> users from launching viruses or spam or hogging bandwidth. That's why
> BCWN's programmers are working on modified version of Île sans Fil's
> WifiDog application. WifiDog makes it simpler to prevent hotspot
> misuse, by requiring the user to log in with a central server, which
> would be run by BCWN."
> On 12/21/05, Michael Lenczner <mlenczner at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Free Wireless Fever
>> Other cities are doing it. Will Vancouver?
>> By Peter Tupper
>> Published: December 21, 2005
>> Vancouver, 2010 AD: Mohammad Smith cheers as his favourite
>> competes in
>> the Olympic archery competition. During the medal ceremony, he
>> takes a
>> videoclip with his digital camera and emails it to his family in
>> Afghanistan, making a quick digital phone call to notify them. He
>> checks the online schedule to see what event is up next. He does all
>> this from his seat in the bleachers.
>> Right now, several US cities are building or planning to build
>> wireless networks, including San Francisco and Philadelphia, to
>> business, support city workers and deliver broadband access to
>> residents. Even hurricane-ravaged New Orleans has a plan to rebuild
>> with a municipally owned, free-access wireless network. Here in
>> Fredericton, NB has had a city-owned wireless network that covers the
>> downtown business district and some parks and arenas.
>> But what about the supposedly world-class city of Vancouver, BC? Will
>> we have a wireless network for the Olympics? And if so, who will
>> and operate it?
>> Ladner dubious
>> There's also the question of whether we actually need it. While
>> Vancouver's Vision party was strongly in favour of building a
>> network for Vancouver in partnership with a private wireless
>> and while Mayor Sam Sullivan said, "I actually think it has a lot of
>> merit," NPA city councillor Peter Ladner takes a more cautious
>> in studying this idea. "What is it we're trying to do? That's the
>> I haven't figured out."
>> "There are two models that I'm aware of," continues Ladner. "One is
>> where you're supposedly enabling business people who come to our city
>> to flip open their laptops and get free Internet access wherever they
>> are. The other one is where you want to enable low-income people who
>> can't afford wireless access at home to get it out through the public
>> domain somehow."
>> Ladner is skeptical of both rationales for a city-owned network.
>> Wireless access is already common in offices, cafés, airports, hotels
>> and other places businesspeople frequent, and it's spreading rapidly,
>> so no urgent need there. And people traveling on business usually
>> accept having to pay for access.
>> As for providing access to low-income people, Ladner is also dubious.
>> "Is somebody supposed to already own a laptop, but not be able to
>> afford connectivity? That's seems an odd kind of thing…How many
>> who would like to get access now can't get it through places like
>> school, their university, their college, the public library? There's
>> lots of places in the Downtown Eastside where you can go and just
>> on; the Carnegie Centre for instance."
>> Wiring biz
>> While the city governments ponder the issue, activist groups
>> across the
>> continent spread the word about free wireless access through the
>> grassroots. In Toronto, there are two organizations working towards a
>> free wireless network: Wireless Toronto and the Toronto Wireless
>> Community Network. Montreal has Île sans Fil, which created the open
>> source application WifiDog for managing wireless access.
>> In this province, the main advocate of public wireless is the BC
>> Wireless Network Society, an all-volunteer organization with no
>> funding. Incorporated in 2004, the BCWN has about 500 registered
>> and more than 90 volunteers. Matthew Asham, the society's director,
>> says, "We have geeks, we have nerds, we have socialists, we have
>> hackers, we've got pharmacists, we've got city councilors, we have
>> of people."
>> In BC's cities, BCWN's main project is to encourage the growth of
>> hotspots, local wireless access points at coffee shops,
>> restaurants and
>> other businesses.
>> Deborah Moffat, BCWN's volunteer coordinator and the manager of
>> the ABC
>> Country restaurant in Burnaby, says offering free wireless is
>> to businesses. "Maybe you have thirty [customers in the restaurant],
>> and five of them are logged on, that's pretty good. That's five
>> [customers] you might not have had, had you not had wireless. If I
>> alone, and I would choose the place with wireless. Also, if I had a
>> meeting, I would choose the place that had wireless."
>> But businesses often lack the technical skill to prevent malicious
>> users from launching viruses or spam or hogging bandwidth. That's why
>> BCWN's programmers are working on modified version of Île sans Fil's
>> WifiDog application. WifiDog makes it simpler to prevent hotspot
>> misuse, by requiring the user to log in with a central server, which
>> would be run by BCWN.
>> Safe and secure?
>> Asham says this application will also address another major
>> concern of
>> wireless users: security. "As a registered incorporation, we are
>> by law. We have privacy laws that protect the users. I'm not going to
>> give my username, my password, my home address and my phone number to
>> Joe Random-Coffee-Shop-Owner. I'm sorry, I'm not going to do that.
>> "From that perspective, I believe that having the society being
>> responsible for the safety of its users is very, very important. I
>> think a non-profit tends to be more trustworthy as a matter of public
>> perception than a government [agency], which has different privacy
>> rules, or a corporation, which tends to sell information. We have no
>> desire, no need, no ambition to go out and sell people's private
>> What are other differences between free and commercial network
>> providers? BCWN would also provide technical support to business
>> who used their service, though on a volunteer basis instead of a
>> commercial provider's guaranteed service. The differences in speed
>> technical support are what will keep free wireless from directly
>> competing with commercial providers.
>> "I don't see it being as good as a commercial provider," says Joe
>> Bowser, BCWN's hotspot coordinator and a Linux consultant. "I
>> don't see
>> there being that much technical support for it. I think there will be
>> volunteer-based technical support. There will be some services that a
>> community network still won't be able to provide, like speed
>> guarantees...in comparison to a commercial provider. You get what you
>> pay for."
>> Community building
>> BCWN also sees hotspots as a way of encouraging community
>> Users who log on through a WifiDog-equipped hotspot will see a logon
>> page that will say something along the lines of, "Welcome to Ed's
>> Coffee House. Here are our lunch specials." It will also provide
>> to gallery shows, poetry readings, block parties and other
>> Moffat sees this kind of community building as a way of fighting the
>> influence of globalization on our society. "I think this is a small
>> attempt at taking a step back in your own backyard."
>> "Remember the days when you lived in a neighborhood, and all the
>> mothers knew who you were? And they'd all know whether you were
>> supposed to be home or not, and you couldn't get away with anything,
>> because everyone knew you and it was wonderful and everyone was
>> out for you all the time? That's gone. And it's gone because nobody
>> feels a part of a small community anymore."
>> Does Moffat believe that local wireless access will bring back a lost
>> era? "I'm not that naïve. I said it was a step. It brings one thing
>> back a level, so people can start to see themselves as part of a
>> community, instead of part of this giant, global consumer purgatory."
>> Asham says that it's likely there will be some kind of wireless
>> in Vancouver, one way or another. "I think it will happen regardless,
>> if someone comes out and builds it intentionally, or if it happens
>> as a
>> natural side effect of Wifi being so predominant…There's an open
>> Linksys [access point] everywhere, practically." New wireless
>> technologies may be used to expand hotspots into hotzones which could
>> cover entire neighborhoods, owned by local community groups like
>> councils or condo boards.
>> Who's it for?
>> The key point is whether the network will benefit the people of
>> Vancouver or whether it will be built and operated for corporate
>> purposes. The concern of the activists is that, to build a piece of
>> showcase technology to impress the world for the Olympics, the city
>> would leave Vancouver's residents with nothing. For instance, the
>> network could be prohibitively expensive for regular users, based
>> on a
>> non-sustainable technology, or transmitted by Olympic kiosks that
>> be dismantled once the events are over.
>> Bowser says, "If they're already using some existing money to create
>> the network, then it should be free to everybody in Vancouver. Just
>> like funding libraries or the arts, or building a stadium. It's
>> piece of infrastructure that they're adding and they own."
>> "I don't want to see any network go the way of the McBarge [from Expo
>> 86]," he adds.
>> Vancouver writer Peter Tupper is a regular contributor to The Tyee.
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