If this were a live FonBar, you would log in to the hotspot through the form above.

New WiFi Roaming Protocol Established

August 30, 2008

This is great news for wifi networks which, until now, would drop connections when guests moved from AP to AP. This is especially good for those who use wifi VOIP handsets, since it promises to provide a seamless handoff from AP to AP just like the cellular phone network does!

Called 802.11r, or “Fast Basic Service Set Transition” (catchy, huh?), it is the result of four years of research and testing. The IEEE feels that it’s ready for the public, and they approved the standard July 15th.

My educated guess is that this standard could be added to many existing wifi routers, APs and client adapters via software update. Let’s all let Fon know that we need this added to the OpenWRT/Fon hotspot firmware! It would be wonderful to be able to stroll around in zones where Fon and/or their partner networks have lots of hotspots, and enjoy unbroken wifi connections, voice calls and instant messages.

How does it work? I don’t know yet. However, it would seem likely that there must be a background infrastructure where a client’s connection is proxied upstream, and so wifi APs downstream are slaved to a central controller. This isn’t too new of an idea, but ratifying a standard is an important, big step in making this widely compatible. Hopefully, it can serve legacy wifi clients at the same time, and is also compatible with wifi encryption.

This brings Fon’s original dream back into range; Fon was originally concieved of as a FonSpot/JoikuSpot type software application running on PCs, and later, as a hardware router running customized firmware (Linksys), which provided wifi for VOIP handsets. This would function much like today’s femtocells, only it would challenge the telco monopolies by providing cheap calls over wifi. Wifi for other devices was merely a potential side benefeit, and there was no emphasis on “revolutions”, “communities” or selling day passes.

A combination of 802.11r plus a transparent SIP proxy would permit many people to share the same wifi connection for VOIP calls. Currently, SIP would not work at a Fon hotspot for incoming calls, without port forwarding. The consequence of that would likely be to block anyone else from using SIP at the same hotspot.

Read more at VoIP Watch, PC World, and The Wireless Weblog.

WiF Podcast #2

April 9, 2007

Mike, Dan and Chad

We’re back!

Dan Berte of http://www.wirelessisfun.com/ has edited our 3 hours of recorded ramblings into several bite-sized segments. Dan and I were joined by Mike Puchol of tech.am blog, who is also a founder and CTO of http://www.whisher.com/. We’re demonstrating our rapidly improving style, so look out, http://www.kenradio.com/!

Download segments at: http://wirelessisfun.com/2007/04/09/wif-podcast-2/


Court rules Vonage must stop using Verizon patents.Vonage claims it has long prepared for this, and customers have no fear of service termination. Mike Snyder, Vonage’s chief executive officer says “Friday’s events represented one small step in what is sure to be a long legal battle.” Vonage, whose shares fell nearly 26% on Friday, also said the litigation would likely take years, but added that it was confident it would continue to provide service to its over 2.2 million subscribers. Will they license from Verizon? Will they patch their code? Is this death for Vonage?

EarthLink Unveils Wi-Fi VoIP Phone with wifi router built into base…

This appears to be the same “FON Router with Skype Handset” from July, 2006.

Fon Blog and Martin Varsavsky release early details of their upcoming “Fontenna”

This will be an external, cable-tethered 7db box.

Fon suggests again that their partnership with McAfee makes their product safe.

Deja Vu from Dec 12 last year…

Fon releases firmware upgrades for VOIP phones

They can now log in to Fon hotspots. Is the problem solved? Listener feedback encouraged.

Another Fon issue fixed by Apple Computer-

Airport Extreme patch makes it easier to connect to La Fonera now.

Melting La Fonera APs…

The infamous YouTube video is probably a hoax, but an expert analysis by Mike Puchol suggests that the electronics may last no more than a year due to heat stress.

Fon’s upcoming La Fonera 1.5 will have a LAN port

Probably to be based on the slightly better Accton MR3202A 2 Port Mini Router. Since La Foneras have a 2 year warantee, this could mean a free upgrade when the 1.0 fries.

Fon will have a Wi-Max/WiFi AP in the future.

La Fonera x will use Wi-Max service instead of Cable/DSL modem.

Ericsson halts Wi-Max technology in favor of 3G.

Now only Intel makes the chips.

Whisher releases new Mac and Linux clients.

Linux client offers intrim solution to exposed Wi-Fi encryption keys.