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Selling Your Wireless Traffic to Passers-By 135

An anonymous reader submitted a bit about a company called Joltage who wants to make it so that home and business users can make a few bucks by selling their excess bandwidth to people who just happen to be in the neighborhood. Besides the obvious security issues, and the serious lack of coverage once you get out of metropolitan areas, this could be seriously cool.
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Selling Your Wireless Traffic to Passers-By

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  • by isa-kuruption ( 317695 ) <> on Saturday March 30, 2002 @12:41PM (#3254001) Homepage
    Most broadband providers (cable, dsl...) have license agreements forbidding the reselling of bandwidth to people other than in the household for which the line was subscribed. Therefore, this would be illegal.
    • violations of license agreements are usualy not illegal.
    • It would NOT be illegal, it would be a breach of contract. There is no law saying you can't resell bandwidth, only the agreement that you likely signed with your ISP that says you can't do it.
    • Marriam Webster's definition of "illegal"

      Main Entry: 1illegal

      Pronunciation: (")i(l)-'lE-g&l
      Function: adjective
      Etymology: Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French illegal, from Medieval Latin illegalis, from Latin in- + legalis legal
      Date: 1538
      : not according to or authorized by law : UNLAWFUL, ILLICIT; also : not sanctioned by official rules (as of a game)

      Specifically, we're interested in:

      not sanctioned by official rules

      In which case, the License Agreement are the "rules" as defined by the contract. Violating the "rules of the contract" is therefore illegal in the definition of the word, although not in the definition of the law.

      • It's apparent that your upgrade (per your very own sig) was not successful. Illegal by definition is il-legal (legal meaning law). So your very argument it brainless. FWIW, UnLAWful means not LAWful. As such, your point is null and void (how's that for legalese). Waiddamminute, did I just get pulled into trollbait?! Uhg....
    • I am not a lawyer, so don't rely on this as legal advice.

      Generally, my experience with DSL providers has been that they do not prohibit this kind of sharing. Indeed Covad's sales staff touts this kind of unrestrictedness as selling point. (I called Covad's sales line to confirm this a while ago.)

      This is not so surprising when you consider that the places where wireless service is expected to be most useful are "hot spots" where people gather and sit down, such as resturaunts, coffee shops, retailers, and various waiting areas, typically places that are likely not to order broadband otherwise.

      It is difficult to prove a negative. So, maybe those who believe their acceptable use policy prohibits this should provide relevant excerpts. It would be interesting to see if those AUP's also, with the same stretch of interpretation, prohibit attaching a wireless access point, using Network Address Translation to connect more than one computer, or using the connection for work.

      By the way, my impression is that DSL people seem to be more positively disposed toward this sort of thing than the cable modem providers.

      Disclaimer and plug: I am involved in LANRoamer [], a GPL'ed wireless roaming network that allows people to get paid for providing wireless service. The back end is also GPL-compatible open source.

  • here leaning out their windows screaming at passers-by that they need Orinoco cards 'cause they'll get 500 yard rage....:)
  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @12:45PM (#3254016) Homepage Journal
    ...there is no such thing is there?

    • Why do you think there's no Bandwidth left over?

      It's all used up by War-Drivers.

      How can you expect to sell something that anyone with a Pringles tube can steal for free?

  • by PhysicsGenius ( 565228 ) <physics_seeker&yahoo,com> on Saturday March 30, 2002 @12:46PM (#3254023)
    The IT professionals among us are rightly concerned about software security implementations, especially from a well-known company in Washington State. The even more knowledgeable are concerned about the protocols themselves. This concern is 10 times greater when the network data is whizzing through the air for anyone to intercept. Luckily I've had an idea that may prove fruitful as a first line of defense against tactics such as "war driving".

    Despite the catchy slogan, sometimes obscurity can provide a small measure of security. The first step in securing wireless networks should be making the transmissions uninterceptable by hackers. Therefore I would like to invoke the concept of "guided wavefronts". What you do is you provide a contained medium that is impervious to casual break-ins within which the signal can propagate.

    The scheme could prove bulky, so I propose that the contained medium should be made of some material that will conduct an electric charge quite well, such as metal. If this is done I suspect the guided wavefront containers could be made as small as 1/8"-1/4" in diameter. Also, there will be a certain amount of secondary leakage because of electromagnetic radiation produced by the contained signal, but making the container out of some kind of shielding matter would solve this issue.

    I haven't seen anything like this concept on the market but it seems like a good idea. How come nobody is working on it?

    • Actually, I've already got similar shielding going on at my house.

      Because I'm being paranoid about (encrypted or not) 802.11b transmissions getting out of the house, I've got the WAP hooked up in the basement. Under a desk. Under a monitor. With concrete walls on two sides. And the antennae folded down.

      I did a walkaround of my property with the laptop, and no usable signal gets past my property line. Someone would have to park in my driveway, get out of the car, and still have all of the necessary settings to get on my network and my DSL connection.

      There's much to be said about security through obscurity. Perhaps the WAP manufacturers could allay some fears by allowing users to dial down their transmission power. That, or you install the proverbial "tinfoil hat" on your WAP!

      • I did a walkaround of my property with the laptop, and no usable signal gets past my property line

        Problem is, high gain antennas work in *both* directions.. transmit and receive. So while you may not have detected any usable signal with your laptop, I doubt you tested it with the six foot long log periodic, the 60-mile dish, or the 120-mile dish I have. Your neighbors could put pringles cans in their attic (or basement if they have a direct shot to your basement windows) and hit your network.

        By using an 18" long commercial version of the pringles can (make and model escape me) on the client side, I was able to add another couple hundred yards of usable distance when hitting a Linksys AP that uses a **PC Card** as its antenna (read as "no external antennas"). WEP will only keep out the "plug and play hackers" but that's it. And even without your network settings, sniffers will get your broadcasts, like ARPs, and see what IP addresses you're using. Best protection there is to setup a subnet of 4 or 8 hosts with a standard default gateway ( to throw them off so if they try to use a high IP far away from the ones you're using, they'll be out of your subnet. Can't get to the net or your boxes.

        You can't ever think you have radio waves under control. They work in mysterious ways. With an 18" dish, you can pick up a ham satellite on 2.4GHz 30,000km away.
    • Who gives a fuck?

      I /really/ dont care if someone comes along and tries to hijack my wireless lan. what can they do? access the net? look at my porno collection?

      do I REALLY care that someone MIGHT spy on my google searches?

      Anything important will be encrypted by me, before it hits the 'wire'.

      I dont see the problem.
    • "The scheme could prove bulky, so I propose that the contained medium should be made of some material that will conduct an electric charge quite well, such as metal. If this is done I suspect the guided wavefront containers could be made as small as 1/8"-1/4" in diameter. Also, there will be a certain amount of secondary leakage because of electromagnetic radiation produced by the contained signal, but making the container out of some kind of shielding matter would solve this issue."

      That's neat! You should patent it!

      One modification I thought of would be if rather than using just ANY electromagnetic radiation, if you aim for frequencies around 500nm or so, you might be able to use the guided wavefront material to keep it in itself! You wouldn't need any shielding, it will just reflect at the interface! It will be practically untappable! And much faster than lower frequencies! Wanna share the patent money? We're gonna be rich!
  • Not quite a repeat (Score:4, Informative)

    by GeorgeH ( 5469 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @12:46PM (#3254025) Homepage Journal
    Sounds a lot like what the guys at Sputnik [] are doing.
    • And Sputnik is done in Linux!
    • There's also SOHO Wireless. All three companies are offering variants on software-based hot spots in which you can take relatively cheap existing equipment and turn it into a commercial-grade public access hot spot without building back-office billing, support, network, etc. I wrote up an analysis of the three companies back on March 11th on my Wi-Fi blog at
    • Thanks. I was going to make that point. Now I'm redundant...

      Actually, I'll take this opportunity to give props to sputnik. I think this is the first viable open source business model I've seen. They also have a semi-effective lock-in scheme:

      (for those too lazy to read about it, sputnik give away their open-source wireless-reseller-in-a-box to anyone who wants to make a few bucks from their wireless bandwidth. They also give away the authenticating client software. So to use your bandwidth I need their snazzed up DHCP client on my laptop. The payment aspect comes in because I have to buy airtime credits from Sputnik, who then tell the reseller that it's ok to let me use their bandwidth.)

      You get a bit of lock-in, because both the bandwidth provider and the client need to use the same billing agent. I can of course potentially have several clients (or redesign the client to talk to several billing agents).
      This gets really interesting when you mix the ability to do real-time bidding when I have overlapping bandwidth providers.
      Also interesting is the mobile aspect of it: transparently jumping networks.

      Fun stuff!
  • are you liable? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kizzle ( 555439 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @12:50PM (#3254041)
    What happens when someone starts looking up kiddie porn on your connection? Are you liable?
    • Re:are you liable? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Raetsel ( 34442 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @01:27PM (#3254227)

      I would hope that authorities would be able to discern that you -- even though it was your connection -- were not the cause.

      Since Joltage has an authentication & billing system in place, it would be relatively easy to associate a Joltage Provider (the person who's running that particular access point) with the Joltage User (the one who broke the law).

      It raises a good question though -- what kind of (browsing | usage) information is Joltage collecting on its' users? What exactly is their software capable of, and (going even further...) is it going to spy on the Joltage "Providers"?

      • It would be a interesting way for someone to terrorize a victim. Rather than borrow your jetliner with all your family aboard, the thrifty terrorist can hijack your net connection and send lovely disturbing emails to important people. Your family will miss you for a few days while things are sorted out. Score +1 for the terrorist.

        Perhaps in the future when we are more educated from information attacks, bad information will no longer be a threat or a crime.
    • What are you going to do? Claim that you allowed someone else to share your bandwidth, clearly breaking typical service agreements? Might you also mention that you were even making money by doing so? Hrm, guess that's better than going to jail, but at that pointed you're kinda stuck...
    • Now that I think about it I guess you could set up a filter. But we all know that internet filters do not work to good. And there is allso the chance of somone using your connection to send death threats to the prez.
    • What if someone sends SPAM through your access point?
  • legalities (Score:2, Informative)

    by morgajel ( 568462 )
    IANAL, but there are definite TOS issues. Do you think Ameritech, AT&T, charter, etc... are conna let you even THINK about this?

    and I quoteth from ameritech [], my dsl provider:
    Basic ADSL Internet Access, as applicable, is a single IP Service intended for use by a single user. You shall not use the Service in a manner that is inconsistent with this intended use. SBCIS will not provide support for the installation or ongoing management of a customer premise router with your Basic DSL Internet service. Primary and Secondary Domain Name Service is not provided as part of the Basic DSL Internet Access Service. "

    joltage shoulda checked the bandwidth proveder contracts first. even if they don't cover it now, they have the right to change it whenever they want.
  • Great... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mister Transistor ( 259842 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @12:53PM (#3254055) Journal
    New term coinage: War Spamming!

    Just what I want - to host a random spammer on my home LAN, and be the tracepoint of whatever this person wants to send out on the net. Seriously, if this "guest" wants to send stuff to, I'd be the target of an anal investigation by the NSA and the USSS at the very least.
  • Seems similar... (Score:3, Informative)

    by JordanH ( 75307 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @12:56PM (#3254076) Homepage Journal
    To sputnik [], previously covered [] on here on Slashdot.

    I'm not sure of what exactly are the differences between the two. Sputnik seems to have more information on their pages about the architecture, but they could be very similar, from what I'm reading.

    If they are similar, this is one industry that's already in need of a shakeout. I imagine the real value of something like this being in availability and different systems don't help that much.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Sputnik is actually an open-source architecture and Joltage is closed source. As for the need for both of these services, there isn't any. They both violate Acceptable Use Policies for most, if not all ISPs. Using one of these services to freely distribute bandwidth to your surrounding neighbors would certainly be more preferrible, than selling it. Since there are even more legal issues concerning selling bandwidth, especially for a home user.

      Here's an article at [] about the two services.

  • AUP Problems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Raetsel ( 34442 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @12:58PM (#3254080)

    Serious problem... Joltage wants to encourage people by paying them to extend their network. Many of the benefits, none of the work... nice idea.

    The problem is that most end-user DSL (and all consumer cablemodem that I've seen!) Acceptable Use Policies explicitly prohibit reselling the service!

    I'm signed up with a Washington State DSL ISP [] that has been incredible --

    1. They got me installed when Verizon said I wasn't in a servicable area
    2. I have their SO/HO level of service
    3. I can run servers
    4. I can host my own domain (two, actually!)
    5. I can NAT and firewall to my heart's content
    6. I don't have to deal with PPPoE (straight bridge config)
    7. I get 5 IPs...

      (Can you tell I like this company?)

    But even with all this freedom, I am still not allowed to re-sell access. I run an 802.11a access point, and it's NAT'd off on its' own -- anyone can connect... but I am contractually prohibited from profiting from it.

    Personally, I don't think Blarg would have kittens over this. They're not "like that." Object, yes... charge me more, yes. Call in the National Guard... no. However, I can see other ISPs (Comcast comes to mind, with their NAT inquisition []) that will scream that this is the end of the world.

    • "I can host my own domain (two, actually!)"

      Couldn't you host as many as you want if you can host a server via name based virtual hosting?

    • Yes - but wouldn't the overall quality of your rather excellent service be diminished if customers were allowed to resell bandwidth? It would lead to them getting the same revenue for more bandwidth usage - so they'd have to either cut back somewhere - or increase the prices their customer pays.

      • Absolutely.

        I didn't figure I really had to go into details, but I will now.

        1. My wireless access point doesn't get much use. I've noticed exactly ONE other person use it in the nearly 6 months it has been available. Their traffic was IM (ICQ) and HTTP, mainly hitting MSN and Hotmail. It lasted about 2 weeks, then disappeared. I figure it was someone visiting in a nearby apartment.

        2. I don't advertise its' availability, and I have no intentions of installing a high-gain antenna. If you stumble upon it, fine -- it's 802.11a (54 Mbit, Intel mfg.), which a lot of people don't have equipment for. If you do have equipment (and it manages to be compatible -- 802.11a is known for not playing 'nice'), you'll get a DHCP offer in the 10.n.n.n range. Have a ball; I'm altruistic like that.

        3. I do watch its' usage -- both destination addresses and traffic types. If it spikes, I'll just install traffic-shaping on the firewall.
        In short, I like my ISP. I get the usage I want from them, and I'm not going to do anything to drive them out of business. I know the realities, I'm not going to try and bend the laws of "business physics."

    • But what if only joltage profited from it then would it be legal since they dont have a contract with the provider? :-P
    • The service I have with specifically ALLOWS (and says so in big letters) reselling of bandwidth. Of course, I'm not paying the $45 a month chump fee either. The service costs me $200 a month. I get 16 static ip addy's and can get more if necessary for a negligible cost.

      The problem here is that most people are trying to use the dsl/cable services that simply aren't designed with the intent to be resold. they're charging you assuming you WON'T be reselling the bandwidth, whereas I'm sold the service assuming that I will be, and charged appropriately.

      Get the service you want. I'm sure there's someone in your area that will sell it to you, but you'll quit having to look at the bottom level prices to find it.

    • That's why neighbor networks need to interconnect more with each other and run servers on these "city networks". Once a certain limit has been reached, the big corps need you more than you need them and such contracts can be rewritten.
    • It's not just ISP AUPs that could prevent me from legally reselling bandwidth. (Not that I would with my 33.6k!)

      I work for a local commercial ISP, and among other things I signed away on my NDA, I can't sell internet service. I'd imagine that's the case with a lot of employers' NDAs and/or other employment agreements.

  • Virtually no ISP in the land will allow you to sell your excess bandwidth. Many will shut you down if they even suspect that you may be using a NAT device to connect multiple machines.
  • This will Never Fly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dbretton ( 242493 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @01:00PM (#3254092) Homepage
    For 1 simple reason: Terms of Service (TOS) Agreements.

    If someone picks up my wireless service and uses it for any length of time, there is nothing anyone can do about it.

    The user would need to, at the very least, be FORCED to sign (or at least click) a TOS agreement before using the service.

    I can see Johnny Cochran now:

    If he did not click, you must acquit!

    • I can see Johnny Cochran now:

      If he did not click, you must acquit!

      Hmm ... isn't this playing the race-condition card?

      Anyway, I think it works better as:

      "If he didn't click on it, you must acquit!"

      Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project ( []

    • Not true, at least in my experience.
      My first broadband was a dual-ISDN from Bellsouth. They even gave me a block of 30 IP's to play with.
      I then moved to Sigecom Cable, of evansville, IN. I had to sign a statement that I was solely responsible for all traffic over my IP; I checked (which is always a good idea) with the SysAdmin about running a webserver, e-mail, whatever and he said your IP, your bandwidth, your problem.
      Currently on ADSL; asked the SysAdmin same question, the only thing he freaked on was me running a DNS server, but everything else was cool. No one has done anything but encourage me to wire the rest of my house.
      I understand this may not be the case with the big "National" ISP's, but they have always fallen in with AOL in my thinking, not worth the trouble of using them. If you get hooked up with an ISP where you can't talk to a Sysadmin, even by appointment, you are just asking for trouble.
  • 'People react to it [using WiFi] the way they did to the first time they used the Internet, or heard 'Smells like Teen Spirit,'" said Cliff Skolnick, an engineer...'

    here []

    These are odd examples of previous successes for an advocacy piece.

    YMMV, but for me:

    first time used the Internet - confused as hell,
    first time heard 'Teen Spirit' - I felt ill.
  • by treat ( 84622 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @01:04PM (#3254105)
    The security issues of allowing random anonymous people access to an internet connection that is in your name are quite overwhelming. Consider the wide range of things that could be done that would bring the full force of the law down upon you. From fraud to illegal images to death threats against well-known individuals. The police would not accept as a defense that you allow people who you don't know access to your network. You will surely be arrested, which means you will probably lose your job - depending on your employer and of course whether you are released on bail. You might get off on a trial, especially if the search of your home and your computers turns up no evidence against you. If you're lucky, you will get your eqipment back in a timely fashion after your acquital. This is if you get acquited - the details of the case, how much the police/FBI want to get you, and whether they find anything else suspicious on your machines will decide this. You don't have to be charged with anything they find for it to be used as evidence against you - something as simple as an archive of every Phrack - or even a single issue - would weigh heavily against you.

    Until this issue is worked out, it does not make sense to make a wireless internet-connected network publicly accessible if you are just an individual.
    • The police would not accept as a defense that you allow people who you don't know access to your network.

      What do you mean they wouldn't accept it? Hysterical bogosity. AS IF.

    • It sure works for internet cafes.
      • It sure works for internet cafes.

        When the police show up at an internet cafe and find out that it is indeed a business that lets random unidentified people use their net connection, it will be obvious what happened. What do you expect to say when they show up at your house? Do you expect to talk the police into just going away when they have in their hands documentation that points the trail directly to you? A large portion of the people the police deal with try a story along the lines of "it wasn't me!" You are going to need some kind of proof that it wasn't you, or you are screwed.

    • Your real problems aren't likely to be police* - they're likely to be ISPs dealing with complaints about spamming and about file/warez servers run on your network. The obvious way to protect the access-point provider from this while also protecting the roaming user from eavesdropping is to support tunnels back to a wireless access service provider's host location. That way, the service provider can do billing (if that's how you want to run it) and can do a contract with the cable modem company or DSL providers to avoid the AUPs-against-resale problems (so the cable company gets, say, $5/month to support roaming users), and the service provider gets a hook to manage any abuse issues like spamming or evil-content servers rather than the access point user being stuck with them.

      * If you're somebody the police would like to entrap, *then* they might go engaging in suspicious activities on your wireless network as an excuse to get a warrant, but most people in that situation know enough to be worried....

  • I have my apartment # in my SSID on my wireless AP so people "Netstumbling" [] can come and chat with me. No takers yet. Yes I am using WEP so that actually have to come see me if they want access.
  • Just about every single broadband ISP has it in their license agreement that you will not run servers or otherwise saturate your connection to them. If this ever starts taking off, expect to immediately see one of three things: either the ISP's initiate a per month bandwidth limit that is very low, the ISP's start enforcing some form of MAC address verification, or they charge a per-megabyte bandwidth fee (in addition to the $40+ you pay already just for the "privilage" of being hooked up to their network).

    This idea is ludicrous, and is doomed to fail right from the start. What are these people smoking?
  • I am setting up an 802.11b wireless network in my girlfriend's apartment. When I come over, I can bring out my laptop and access her cable modem connection. We are located on the top floor of a 3-story apartment building at the corner and I bet if I position the antenna right, I can cover 200 other houses and apartments. I would be happy to get a 768kbs DSL line as a backup and sell the service. That is until the cable companies get wise and shut down the NAT on the boxes.
  • For lower prices on my "excess" bandwidth I can prostitute my connection. Just let me know where to sign fellas!
  • by LWolenczak ( 10527 ) <> on Saturday March 30, 2002 @01:20PM (#3254202) Homepage Journal
    I don't think people feel like paying... I just noticed this morning, that somebody near by is trying to get dhcp addies from my internal dmz firewall... also seems that their is another ap that has been assoiated with my ap. Welp, once I hunt down this person who broke my wep key, I guess its time to be extra paranoid again.

    BTW, its not Illegal to resell your cable/home dsl bandwidth, its just in violation of the contract.
    • its not Illegal to resell your cable/home dsl bandwidth, its just in violation of the contract.

      How exactly is breaking contract law anything but illegal?

      See, this is how contract law works: I make you an offer which entails an exchange of goods - say you get personal access to my bandwidth and I get your money. You accept that offer, including a condition that it is only for your household's use. A contract is formed.

      You have no more right to use anything but our agreed bandwidth than I have to bill your credit card with anything but our agreed sum.

      If I suddenly decided to double-bill your credit card, you'd be screaming about how illegal my behaviour is, and you'd be right. Well, guess what, sonny - it works both ways.

  • The "Sign up as a provider" page has this option:

    "Do you want to be a wireless User as well? (A credit card is required.)"

    Cool! I can pay my ISP and then pay these people to use the bandwidth that I'm selling to them! ;)
  • This is ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anomolous Cow Herd ( 457746 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @01:35PM (#3254275) Journal
    OK, let's pretend for a moment that reselling your bandwidth isn't in violation of your broadband provider's AUP. Even then, you have to consider that these providers rely on very thin margins to stay in business. They can stay ahead of the game by counting on the fact that not everyone will be utilizing all of their bandwidth at the same time. If you have people reselling all their idle bandwidth to other people, the link at the ISP will be overwhelmed and it will result in bad service for all parties involved. Next step? The only broadband ISP in your town goes out of business. Wow, isn't biting the hand that feeds you great?

    I'm disgusted by this overwhelming sense of entitlement displayed by many in the Slashdot readership in the comments sections. Some of you believe that just because you pay a (very reasonable, flat-rate) fee for network access, email and news, you have a license to use all your bandwidth, all the time in any manner that you please. It's just plain bad manners, and I'm sure that it wouldn't have been tolerated in the internet days of yore when bandwidth and system resources were hard to come by.

    Hint: the reason that @Home and its descendents won't let you use IPSec or run servers on their network is that it's their network! Either pay more for better service (like a T1) or rip off some other provider's bandwidth.

    • You hit the nail on the head. What people have today on their cable modems or DSL lines is really PEAK bandwidth capability. Does it really take a genius to see that if every cable or DSL line tried to run at maximum speed that no provider in the world could handle it? It's a matter of statistics. As you noted, all that would happen would be lousy service for everyone (this in fact already happens in areas where cable modem nodes are overly subscribed.)
      A useful analogy would be to imagine a bunch of firehoses hooked up to a water pump that can move 100 amount of gallons per minute. Let's say each hose can move 10 gallons of water per minute. People have valves that let them turn it on and off at will. Let's say there are 500 hoses hooked up. This may still provide acceptable water flow on as "as needed basis" if usage is bursty, but turn them all on and you aren't going to get 5000 gallons per minute aggregate water flow: You're going to get what the pump can move, 100 gallons/minute, aggregately. Or in other words, given equal resistance among the hoses, 1/5 gallon of water per minute flowing from each.

    • I'm disgusted by this overwhelming sense of entitlement displayed by many in the Slashdot readership in the comments sections. Some of you believe that just because you pay a (very reasonable, flat-rate) fee for network access, email and news, you have a license to use all your bandwidth, all the time in any manner that you please. It's just plain bad manners, and I'm sure that it wouldn't have been tolerated in the internet days of yore when bandwidth and system resources were hard to come by.

      To be fair, the vast majority of Slashdotters seem to have come out on the side of reason this time (at least when you look at the posts that have been moderated up). For an overwhelming sense of entitlement, go read the latest file 'sharing' thread.

  • Are there any hotspots in the entire US outside of NY, LA, Chicago?

    I just did a search of the entire US on their site and didn't find ANY.

    There are 5 in NY, three (including the "Joltage Headquarters") are OFF. So Joltage won't even provide its own service to people?

    I found ONE in LA and ONE in Chicago. Both are off.

    None in Atlanta, GA, Washington, DC, St. Louis, MO, Charlotte, NC.

    They really need to improve their search feature. How do I know if I want to sign up if I can't get an acurate picture of coverage?

    Yeah, let me pay you 25 USD/month for NOTHING. RIGHT.

  • Terms of Service (Score:3, Informative)

    by sourcehunter ( 233036 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @01:49PM (#3254361) Homepage
    I skimmed the TOS and found some interesting notes.

    You may be asked from time to time to provide marketing support as a condition for your continued participation in the Joltage Network. Such marketing support may include posting postcards, signage, stickers etc. on your premises and including Joltage's logo on your marketing material.
    So, if I'm a business, and I have setup a Joltage system, I can be required to put their logo in my marketing propoganda if I want to remain a Joltage "service provider"? Yuck.
  • I can resell my bandwidth!

    It's a business T1. I can do whatever I want with it.
  • ...because you can get it for free, with exponetially more coverage than this scheme offers.

    Crank up Netstumbler ( on your laptop, and drive around. You'll be amazed at how many open networks you find; at least 2/3rds don't even use WEP encryption. The Linksys wireless AP is now less than $200: they're everywhere (and most are running on the default config, and offer a DHCP IP address with no questions asked).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Open 802.11 + open relay = spam spam spam, with *NO* return address.

  • All the difficulties and problems aside ...

    Wireless would be really cool in this situation, but not everyone has that option in their laptops. What we all do have is a 56k modem. If there was a system that allowed subscribers to dial in to businesses and be forwarded to a modem bank and routed out through their Internet connection, I think they'd have something. It would have to be 'user proof' and streamlined. If all the user had to do was dial a 1800 number, and that got them connected to a local number with 56k access, I think it would have a chance. Everything would have to be transparent to the user though.

    Buying a bunch of modems would be so much more expensive than a simple wireless setup though (from what I can tell ...)

  • Ultimately... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Restil ( 31903 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @02:28PM (#3254582) Homepage
    The best option if this is a service people would actually desire, is to convince the majority of neighborhoods to wire themselves up with high speed ethernet, making each subdivision one high speed local area network, then feed a few T1 lines into the area for upstream (add more as needed) and split the costs over the entire neighborhood. Then have wireless access points scattered throughout. then simply exchange services with other neighborhoods. They're allowed to access yours if you're allowed to access theirs, and you could cover an entire city this way with wireless and it costs nobody anything extra, so long as the user has their home wired SOMEWHERE.

  • College people (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I can see it now. College students that are in business entrepreneur somehow making or getting their hands on several access points and setting up shop with those things all over the place for passerby's and even when they have long left still collecting commission because the access point is well hidden or scattered. Or any other setting that has loads of bandwidth for free.
  • Abuse & Con Issues? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by d_force ( 249909 )
    This may have been posted already, but...

    1) I envision providers figuring out the "Joltage" protocol and generating "fake" sales, just to get more money from the company. (Similar to the initial craze of advertising websites that tried to "pay" you for leaving their banner ads open on your desktop... people hacked it and initally got more money.. until the company's business model imploded.)

    2) What's the "Joltage" policy when it comes to customer abuse of the network?
  • The idea of grassroots bandwidth by-the-people
    and for-the-people is certainly democratic and
    appealing in a 60s kind of way. But, commenters
    are correct in that there are contractual issues
    with underprovisioned and over-lawyerd ISPs,
    and this vision of wireless utopia is a pipedream.

    That said, I and other professionals who travel
    would pay for predictable and reliable service
    in airports and hotels. I sincerely hope that
    Sputnik or Instant802 or Joltage or someone else
    who have done the system integration plus the
    authentication and proper billing systems win
    a contract with one of the major ISPs, probably
    a cellular provider, to build out and operate
    this kind of service.

    Paying for access to phantom bandwidth will not
    attract a self-sustaining customer base. Free
    access to phantom bandwidth is not a self-sustaining business model. Fix the biz
    and and things could get started. It's not the
    same as universal bandwidth everywhere, even
    though that is a very worthwhile goal. But that
    goal cannot be reached in one step. A self-sustaining business is the necessary first
  • Not with my ISP, I can use as much bandwidth as I use, I can run a company on it. Share it with as many as I want.
    Might be because nobody expects you to run a serious company from a xDSL line. :)
    However if this neat concept caught on, I would expect to see a announcement of a change in the policy of the product. :)
  • by Crag ( 18776 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @04:21PM (#3255349)

    I saw a few comments at threshold 4 saying this would be against the Acceptable Use Policy of a lot of providers, and that it would be better to get dedicated bandwidth (a T1) to do this.

    Well, how about it? How much is a T1 these days? Could this pay for itself, or even compete with DSL?

    I'm used to seeing full T1s sell for around $1k a month. I would have to recover around $1000 to be breaking even. I'm in downtown Seattle, so I think if this idea took off I'd have a rich pool of potential drive-by customers, but I'd also have a lot of coffee house and bar customers. There are about a dozen bars and coffee houses within 2000 feet of my apartment.

    The Joltage site is a little sketchy about financial details, but their hourly rate is $2. They also say that the "hot spot" (me in this case) gets half of the revenue. That means I'd have to accumulate 1000 hours a month combined to recoup the $1000 a month I'd be paying for my T1. If 20 users consistantly used my net for 2.5 hours per business day (of which there are aprox 20 in a month), it would work. Is this realistic?

    Right now I don't think it is. All the customers who might be interested already have solutions in place. The only way this could take off would be if they signed up people who already have bandwidth they can give away and who won't suffer if noone uses them. There are a few internet caffes around here who might be interested since they already have net AND they already re-sell it to their existing customers. The overhead would be a little lower for them and it could attract more customers. This project looks tenuous at best.

    I wish them luck.

  • I find it overly optimistic that on their location search page they list 226 countries/locations, yet only 2 or 3 of them even have connection points. Like what's the use of listing Afghanistan in there - on the rare chance that someone might put up a hot spot there... 1) Who would dare to use it? 2) It has a 50/50 chance of getting blown up within the hour. Not sure where they're going with this one.
  • Anyone else notice that the tab for this window when abbreviated looks like (if you're not reading carefully) it says "Selling Your Wife"? :)
  • by interstellar_donkey ( 200782 ) <> on Saturday March 30, 2002 @07:48PM (#3256828) Homepage Journal
    I keep my WAP open and very public. Number one because it's cool, and number two because it keeps me on my toes security wise.

    At best I get 2-3 people connecting in a given day. Even if the location was heavily advertised, I doubt I'd see more then 10.

    The money I'd make through this would'nt be worth the time and energy to collect income, the system resources on my machine to keep proper accounting, or the loss of helping to build free wireless networks.

    I keep my WAP open so folks at the the bar down the street can get online. I wish everyone had that attidude.

Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.