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Preview: Michael Fioritto: WiFi

Michael Fioritto: WiFi

WiFi - news and developments in the wireless industry

Last Build Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 16:39:29 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2003 Michael Fioritto

Mon, 03 Nov 2003 19:26:41 GMT


WiFi information resource for wlan admins and advanced wardrivers.

includes over 700 (tendency rising) wireless related links to manufacturers, advisories, organisations, software and so on.

With the latest News

Related Knowledge Base Wireless Toolbox

[Smart Mobs]

Mon, 06 Oct 2003 15:19:14 GMT

Doc Searls on Day 2 and dinner report, especially interesting because it includes a route-around prediction by Internet radio, which I fully agree with. [Scripting News]

Fri, 03 Oct 2003 16:14:10 GMT

Wireless Hacks by Rob Flickenger. Wireless Hacks hits the stands: teaches you exciting new tips: Rob Flickenger's latest book, Wireless Hacks, has been out for a few weeks and I wanted to share my delight with the title. I have the privilege of having been asked to write the foreword, and so read the book completely a few weeks ago. Here's what I wrote: As my wife likes to remind me, I'm an early adopter. I've bought piles of equipment that litter various shelves in the basement, home office, and work server closet that never quite met the promise that caused me to shell out the bucks in the first place. Rob Flickenger is an early adopter's early adopter: before the technology has reached the fancy stage in which it's stuck in a box, wrapped in nice plastic clothing, and displayed to the masses, Rob has torn it open, decompiled its innards, and turned every part of it into something rich and strange. Reading Wireless Hacks gives me a warm feeling inside, like holding my hands over the vacuum tube in a pre-transistor radio. The glow of this book illuminates Rob's intense interest in spreading knowledge about cool stuff in order to spread more knowledge about the world in general. A large part of this book is devoted to extending access, whether it's by range, through antennas, signal strength, and other combinations of electromagnetic voodoo; or by price--introducing us to inexpensive alternatives to commercial gear or providing ways to take off-the-shelf items and, Julia Child-like out of the oven, produce serious production equipment; or by design, showing us ways to configure software to achieve better results. Back in 1979, when I owned my first computer (an Ohio Scientific, Inc., C1P running a 6502 processor), I used to be a whiz with a soldering iron, assembling my own RS232C port and joystick circuitry. This book takes me back to those days when computing wasn't about fast chips, but it was about a lot of digital parts glued together with analog technology, such as wires and ports. I guarantee that you don't need to master the art of hot dripping lead to make use of this book. The software tips and configuration advice for commercial gear is worth the price of admittance alone. But if you have ever--or even never--touched the electronic heart of a machine before, this book will reawaken that desire. This book is the... [Wi-Fi Networking News]

Thu, 24 Jul 2003 19:41:21 GMT

Are there any WiFi-enabled criminals out there?  Someone would like to speak with you; please read:

As many of you are quite well aware, whenever you sit down at a conference or hotel or park or cafe or harbor with "open WiFi", your network activity is possibly being recorded and reviewed by someone else very close to you.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist: it's trivial to do such things with tools such as this one.

Personal sniffing of open WiFi networks might ultimately be ruled legal, or might not.  (Ask yourself: is there a "reasonable expecation of privacy" on open WiFi networks?  Would you send attorney/client privileged information on an open WiFi network?)  Of course, if you did it, I can assure you that you'd quickly come to the conclusion that doing so is of a questionable ethical nature: your jaw will drop as you see peoples' XML-RPC blog passwords and private email messages flying by.

WiFi sniffing is EASY to do, it is commonly done, and the real question is at what point will someone do real damage by using what they sniff, and when will this be brought to the public's eye by the courts or by congress? 

Think about it.  How long will it take before someone starts methodically wardriving in front of major politicians' or executives' homes, looking for open access points and sniffing interesting traffic by sitting in their car across the street each evening?  Don't you think it's already happening?

In 1997, a cell phone conversation of Newt Gingrich was recorded by a scanner user and the tape was turned over to the media. This spawned bills HR1964 and HR2369 threatening to end scanning as a hobby.  Would a major WiFi-catalyzed insider trading scandal, or political scandal cause new laws to be passed that might change the wireless data landscape as we know it?  It seems like just a matter of time before we'll find out.

In the meantime, I've been contacted by a big-name business publication that is considering writing an article about this subject.  But instead of talking to "industry experts", they'd like instead to talk to someone who is actively sniffing open WiFi networks for personal gain.  Based upon the reputation of the publication, it seems quite likely that confidentiality will be preserved.  978.336.0235 [Ray Ozzie's Weblog]

Thu, 29 May 2003 18:15:04 GMT

Lufthansa Says Achtzig, Bitte!. Lufthansa liked the Boeing Connexion trial so much, they're equipping the fleet: 80 Boeing and Airbus jets will have Connexion service by the end of 2004 for intercontinental flights at $25 to $35 per flight. In the trial, business and first class had Ethernet jacks, and the whole plane had Wi-Fi. However, Boeing was able to allow access only through a single obscure Wi-Fi card model. While it's a logical audience to sell high-speed service to, and the price isn't unreasonable given the captive audience and high costs, the question does remain whether there's enough revenue to pay the costs for maintenance, support, and satellites. At an average of $30 per flight and 30 people per flight and a few dozen flights per day (maybe more?), the system might take years to pay back the installation costs. And planes are notoriously hard on electronics as the folks that installed seat-back systems discovered.... [Wi-Fi Networking News]

Thu, 17 Apr 2003 17:10:11 GMT

Beyond Wi-Fi: The 5 next big things [Smart Mobs]

Wed, 02 Apr 2003 14:38:27 GMT

Buy the Electronic Edition of the Wireless Networking Starter Kit. My co-author Adam Engst and I have launched the sale of the electronic edition of The Wireless Networking Starter Kit, our book for Windows and Macintosh users that helps people set up networks from start to finish in homes and small offices, with extensive chapters on using wireless on the road at hot spots and elsewhere, final-mile point-to-point connections, and troubleshooting. The electronic edition is in Acrobat PDF form and costs $22: exactly the same as the discounted print edition. You can, of course, buy the print book at that price, 30 percent off retail, from, or with free US shipping directly from our publisher.... [Wi-Fi Networking News]

Tue, 11 Mar 2003 20:37:31 GMT

My sister Mimi in Japan Media Review on the social rules of wireless society.

(image) So this is my sister. My younger sister. (Many people think she's older, because she's smarter than me.) She chose an academic career where I dropped out of college twice and because an entrepreneur. Our paths went in wildly different directions, but has recently begun to converge as I have begun to dabble in amature academism and her research focuses on the technology and the social issues surrounding the stuff I'm interested in.

Recently she wrote the following article for Japan Media Review. Last night I heard that she had come to give a talk at Stanford about this as well. (She never tells me these things...)

Mizuko Ito
A New Set of Social Rules for a Newly Wireless Society
Mobile media are bringing sweeping changes to how we coordinate, communicate, and share information.

Just as Weblogs are distributing journalistic authority on the Internet, mobile media further de-centers information exchange by channeling it through networks that are persistently available to the mobile many.
She quotes Howard and Justin. She talks about the mobile phone culture from the perspective of an anthropologist who has been studying the cultural aspects of mobile media for a long time. Lots of cool observations.

I recently talked to one of the vendors involved in i-mode and they told me that Japanese girls have around $300 dollars of disposable income a month. $100 goes to food, $100 goes to clothes and $100 goes to their cell phone. The target average revenue per user (ARPU) for i-mode is around 7000 yen ($50). It's amazing...

[Joi Ito's Web]

Wed, 05 Mar 2003 15:06:51 GMT

A national WiFi map from Don Park. [Scripting News]

Wed, 05 Mar 2003 15:00:47 GMT

WiFinder enables "locations, companies and individuals to offer, use and profit from wireless LAN service." [Scripting News]

Tue, 25 Feb 2003 18:39:22 GMT mobile wifi setup

Tue, 25 Feb 2003 14:55:16 GMT

Intel is making a Mesh Move.

From ZDNet: Because each node on a mesh network only has to make contact with its immediate neighbor and not a distant base station, it can transmit at a very low power; frequencies used by one node can be reused by another only a short distance away. "The physics of wireless networks means that nodes close to each other can operate at much higher speeds, all else being equal," said Witteman. Mesh networks are also inherently robust, as new routes can be found if any one node goes down. There isn't normally just one point of failure.

From the BBC: If the research proves fruitful, homes could soon be studded with small, smart wireless relays that shuffle data around at very high speeds.

[Smart Mobs]

Tue, 25 Feb 2003 00:59:24 GMT

Smart consumer advice for managing Wi-Fi security: A brief intelligent piece (quoting our favorite Wi-Fi pundit, Nigel Ballard, of course) on using Wi-Fi without giving up your secrets. Although VPNs are beyond consumers today, I wouldn't be surprised to see tunneled services become more prevalent in the near future.

[80211b News]

Sun, 23 Feb 2003 03:24:19 GMT

Wardriving How-To

Here are links to other HOWTOs and relevant documents.

The Linux Wireless LAN HOWTO

The Wireless HOWTO

The Linux Laptop HOWTO


NetStumbler - Windows and Hermes based wireless cards

Thu, 20 Feb 2003 18:13:23 GMT

Wi All Fi in a Yellow Subcompact: Cory Doctorow and others form the Wi-Fi caravan from Portland to San Francisco on Feb. 21 with the technical assistance of VIA Technologies. A multi-car, high-speed, mobile Wi-Fi network. Pull over and set a spell boys, and spin us some bandwidth.

[80211b News]

Thu, 23 Jan 2003 17:08:20 GMT

Airshare and Enjoy: is a site dedicated to educating people about the use of wireless networks. I like how the site is divided, and its focus on helpful how-to projects. They've posted Adam Engst and my 802.11g/AirPort Extreme article, and have discussion forums and other points of interest for anyone learning about or trying to teach others about wireless networking. You can also contribute content of interest to them to better spread the word.

[80211b News]

Thu, 23 Jan 2003 17:03:20 GMT

Everest base camp wireless: The grandson of the last living Sherpa who accompanied Hilary on his jaunt up Everest is bringing wireless relayed satellite network access to Everest's base camp, among other projects. This fine article, written by my friend and colleague Nancy Gohring, conveys the critical importance of communication. I love the sense of community also by Gordon Cook, Dave Hughes, et al., where their long association and their deep generosity provides this kind of outcome. (Just a sub-reference here: Tenzing Communications in Seattle, an airplane Intenet access system provider, named themselves after Tenzing Norge, another Hilary Sherpa, and the one who possibly stepped on the summit before Hilary.

[80211b News]

Wed, 22 Jan 2003 16:33:08 GMT

Utah's CTO explain Wi-Fi total cost of ownership (TCO): For a concise and real-world, hard-won explanation of the total expenses involved in deploying Wi-Fi networks in a large organization, read Phil Windley's essay. His comment on VPNs is interesting, of course, as I predict (based on many more involved people's opinions than mine) that 802.1x/EAP plus a secured form of EAP will allow enterprises to abandon local VPN requirements by offering security as robust as a VPN without the expense and overhead. In fact 802.1x/EAP might be an excellent supplement or sidecar to encrypted VLANs, which already use something very much like it.

[80211b News]

Fri, 10 Jan 2003 15:09:41 GMT

Cory Doctorow debunks war-plus-suffix Wi-Fi fears in InternetWeek: Cory says a lot of very sensible, logical things about why the fears raised about warspamming, wardriving, and other problems are fearmongering and misdirection.

[80211b News]

Fri, 10 Jan 2003 15:09:18 GMT

Linksys 802.11g gateway for $134 from Linksys is shipping their Broadcom-based 54G draft 802.11g gateway for a low low price.

[80211b News]

Wed, 08 Jan 2003 14:48:35 GMT

Why WiFi will kick the telcos' asses. Clay "former guestblogger" Shirky's posted a great editorial about what happens to businesses that fail to distinguish a product from a service:
Putting a fax machine in every FedEx office would radically reconfigure the center of their network, thus slashing costs: toner would replace jet fuel, bike messenger's hourly rates would replace pilot's salaries, and so on. With a much less expensive network, FedEx could attract customers with a discount on regular delivery rates, but with the dramatically lower costs, profit margins would be huge compared to actually moving packages point to point. Lower prices, higher margins, and to top it all off, the customer would get their documents in 2 hours instead of 24. What's not to love?

Abject failure was not to love, as it turned out. Two years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, FedEx pulled the plug on ZapMail, allowing it to vanish without a trace. And the story of ZapMail's collapse holds a crucial lesson for the telephone companies today.

Link Discuss (via The Happiest Geek on Earth) [Boing Boing Blog]

Tue, 17 Dec 2002 15:14:10 GMT

Excerpts from The Wireless Networking Starter Kit and a direct discount and free shipping from the publisher: We've posted a 60-page excerpt from the book I co-authored on home and small network use of wireless networking. The book is shipping now from several booksellers, and you can also buy directly from the publisher at 30 percent off retail with free UPS ground shipping in the US through this special link. Enter coupon code PE-Y2AK-TIDF at checkout to receive the discount.

[80211b News]

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 15:59:18 GMT

The Wi-Fi Boom. The wireless networking system called Wi-Fi seems to be turning up everywhere, letting computer users go online in parks and coffeehouses. By Adam Baer. [New York Times: Technology]

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 15:20:48 GMT

My book is shipping: The Wireless Networking Starter Kit, a book I co-wrote with Adam Engst, has left the printer and is heading out to bookstores. If you pre-order from now, you should have it within a few days. I have copies in hand, and boy does it look wonderful. The book is a friendly, uncomplicated look at understanding, configuring, and expanding Wi-Fi networks, with a focus on intermediate users who have some knowledge they want to supplement. Check out the table of contents and even the index and other details at the book's site. We'll have excerpts up in the next couple of days.

[80211b News]