Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fon or Meraki .. I want the functionality of both !!

In the field of Internet connectivity, WIFI is the thing that keeps a road warrior and Internet junkie sane. It also keeps him poor. The amount of money some companies dare to charge for connectivity is tantamount to high-way robbery. Particularly at places where you have to spend lots of time, like hotels and airports are really unfriendly places. Particularly in airports it is galling; you have to be there so many hours in advance, you are often delayed .. it would make more sense to provide it for free and in that way keep the punters happy.

With many Internet organisations increasingly dictatorial in what you can and cannot do, with intellectual property organisations only interested in filling the pockets of the big companies, WIFI is a next place where the people can create a commons away from these established malpractices.

Fon is a WIFI sharing organisation where you provide access to other fonistas by sharing the Internet connection. In one of the more innovative approaches they are targeting the neighbours of Starbucks with free routers. The business model is that you can pay a small amount for access to the network.

Meraki is a WIFI sharing organisation where you provide Internet connection to an area using a mesh network. By including repeaters in strategic places, the area covered can be quite extended and, multiple Internet access points can be part of the same network. When you operate a network, you can determine who can access the network and even provide access for money.

I would like to have a mix of both. At home Meraki would be ideal because my ISP uses a different technology from the ISP of my neighbour. This means that I will improve the connectivity both for myself and for my neighbours. It also allows for providing truly local information. Fon would be ideal when I am away, with an increasing number of fonistas it means that me providing connectivity is the assumption of good faith that will find its sweet rewards.

Combining the two would be awesome. I would not hesitate long to go that way.

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