Wireless Hotspots

Old, inactive threads
Exetel Staff
Posts: 3663
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 2:31 pm
Location: Sydney

Post by ForumAdmin » Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:36 pm

smithy2167 wrote:Hate to rain on the party but, by my understanding, selling bandwidth to the general public on a WiFi link is illegal, unless you have a Carrier Licence:

Providing bandwidth to a single premises (e.g. Hotspots) has been specifically exempted.

Also, non-commercial use is allowed:

However, as soon as you cross a property boundary, and start to charge, a Carrier Licence is required or stiff penalties apply.

Think someone better investigate the legalities further before any money is spent on this idea.
So, as hotspots are exempted, what point are you making?

Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:20 pm

Post by smithy2167 » Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:40 pm

Hotspot = within single premises (e.g. cafe, airport lounge etc.).

If you're going over a property boundary (e.g. to neighbours), that's not a Hotspot by their definition.

Exetel Staff
Posts: 559
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:19 am

Post by NetworkAdmin » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:01 pm

smithy2167 wrote:Hotspot = within single premises (e.g. cafe, airport lounge etc.).

If you're going over a property boundary (e.g. to neighbours), that's not a Hotspot by their definition.
I can see two of my neighbors wifi networks in Perth, and in Sydney I can see the Internet Cafe network next door to my flat. I wonder what that means in terms of a carrier license?

Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:49 pm

Post by Darren_111 » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:07 pm

There's probably no legal implications unless the AP owners tried to sell access to customers outside their premises.

Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 12:52 am

Post by apra143 » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:15 pm

Outside of home+work, I don't need net access, so not applicable here.

I could see value if I could use it on the train ride home, but I don't think this idea applies to contantly moving situations like that?

Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2004 8:45 am
Location: Beautiful downtown Bondi.

Post by gstark » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:52 pm

Some very interesting discussion here.

I've seen growth of WLANs at both my home, where I was the sole WLAN 6 years ago, but now I can see 4 others, as well as at my GF's, which is a largely similar situation.

The concept of community WLANs, such as in an apartment building, is a great idea, but it also raises the question of support: who handles the problems?

Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:20 am
Location: Tuggerah

Futher to the discussion

Post by slacker82 » Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:01 pm

Not sure if exetel management are intrested but, i have a few contacts with 2 large coffee chains and some in fast food as well, if exetel management is intrested i could make some inquires to see if they are intersted in exetel hotspoting (What ever form it may take) please pm if you are intrested

Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:40 pm
Location: SE QLD

Post by chomeop » Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:35 pm

I'd be happy to share a small portion of my connection to add to the hot spot reach.

Country Bumkin
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:50 pm
Location: Regional QLD

Told you so ....

Post by Country Bumkin » Fri Oct 05, 2007 5:49 pm

Back in March in a forum I suggested .....

Another possibility is to use WiFi (and later better still WiMax) links to concentrate nearby customers
to ADSL routers of landline customers.

This could be a way to give low usage customers a truly lower cost connection by sharing
landline costs. An existing customer uses a WAP to connect nearby users, then offsets
their own plan costs by credits from Exetel for the WiFi usage.

This fits the Exetel marketing model in that
customers who are interested to do this are likely to be credible at IT
and to advocate Exetel connections for people in WiFi range.

Naturally the internet shows that this has been tried before, eg.


The hardware, software and billing technolgy seems to be available, success would depend
on the cost and ToS for the landlines using this mode since I suspect Telstra would be
embarrased by a higher average utilisation on ADSLx ports.

More recent consideration has revealed that WiFi is too weak for reasonable distances without special equipment, WiMax would be better.
See here for sample WiFi equipment...
Note particularly the 'Me and my mate' kits.

That should not stop starting things up, so the software is ready for better
equipment later.

regards C Bumkin

Posts: 4
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 12:02 am

Interesting idea

Post by KevJB » Fri Oct 05, 2007 5:57 pm

Yes it is interesting. I'd happily host a WiFi hotspot with Exetel hoping to get some minor return on it. Being out in the middle of fairly medium density housing in a non-metro city would limit my usefulness. But hey I did buy the Cisco 1801 Router so I do have the power to route a lot more data than I currently manage and I'm lucky cause I'm in a 2 story house in a bit of a gully so the hight of my roof and the other houses that are higher than me in almost every direction offers good line of sight to a lot of potential customers.

I'd like to see some clarity of the legal issues. But I really don't think the government is going to start charging it's citizens with criminal activity for hosting a wifi hotspot. That'd be the fastest way to political suicide I can think of.

But as someone mentioned if I offer this service and I get even 2 houses connected I've probably made exetel a profit, might get myself a faster connection with the rebates and screwed Telstra or Optus out of some $60.

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:33 pm
Location: Melbourne Australia


Post by FECN my BECN » Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:06 pm

Hey All,
I couldn't help but comment on this one, I'm already offering this service. I'm using DD-WRT and a 16 dB Omni Antenna, it works great. DD-WRT has radius support and is used for just this purpose by the people who developed the firmware. It compatible with a wide range of access points/routers.

If this happens I'm definitely in, it's not something I recommend to the non tech savvy due to the security issues surrounding opening up a network in your home to traffic from the world. But for those who know what they are doing its a great way to bring the Internet to the masses.

EDIT: Regarding the Legality of this; your not breaking any laws if you don't charge anyone who connects. There are some questions about your liability for others actions when they are using your hot spot. However most of this could be avoided if it was restricted to Exetel users who already have an agreement with the provider of the link behind the hot spot.

Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 7:37 pm
Location: Bowen Mountain, NSW

Post by moldor » Fri Oct 05, 2007 8:13 pm

Spanner_Man wrote:
James wrote:From memory you wanted to offer this as symmetric DSL was not available in your area?
Yes. not happy Jan lol.
Having used BigSwamp's $10/30min connection ONCE (and not by choice) at a Maccas, I think this is a great idea.

However, as Spanner_Man said, line capacity would be a problem in rural / outlying areas.

I have only recently (6 months ago) been able to get 8Mb ADSL - there isn't a hope in Hades that I'd get SHDSL or ADSL2+ off the Grose Vale exchange anytime in the forseeable future - hell, it took me 5 years of fighting with Telstra to get the exchange upgraded at all, and only because a local company was going to start a wireless service here.

In fact I still have several hundreds of dollars of high-gain antennas mounted on the back of my house.... Hmmm, now that I think about it, I could use those...:-)

From my conversations with people who have been involved in FON network, and the aforementioned guy with the wireless idea (who now works with me !!) there are a number of not insurmountable problems. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I do have a few ideas.


VPN connection to the access point and then to Exetel for authentication would be problematic. If you used something like a Linksys router with the DD-WRT firmware there is much of the authentication infrastructure built into it. There's even a "hotspot" release.

We could even come up with a turn-key Linux-based radius server CD that the local provider could install on an old clunker - I guess not everyone would have a spare machine though.


Using the above WRT54G as an example, billing could be handled by the Exetel customer to his local users. Problems: people not paying, complaints about speed / downtime / access / etc.

This could all be handled by the systems at Exetel, taking the load off the local "hotspot" provider, but then again that introduces another layer of complexity.


As I mentioned above, a good link to Exetel would be paramount for this to work and as much as I hate to say it, Exetel just can't provide that in ALL areas (rural / outlying areas primarily). This is certainly not Exetel's fault, and I am doing all I can at the moment to get Telstra to upgrade the firmware in the DSLAM at my exchange so I can get ADSL2+, but they just don't seem to want to know.

Being an Exetel client who uses his connection for work (after hours support for a banking company) I need guarantees that a certain amount of bandwidth would be "reserved" for my personal use, regardless of how many users are accessing my link. This could mean another DSL connection just for the access point (cost), or slower speed for subscribers (unhappy users).


This could be a great selling point if VoIP could be offered over the wireless link with / without a net connection - some people just have no use for the 'net (I kid you not) but would be interested in cheap non-Telstra phone calls.

I'm certainly happy to get involved in this - just notsure as yet what market for it there would be in my particular area (Bowen Mountain), nor how many of the locals already have ADSL (apparently we have no more ports available at the exchange)

Comments ??


Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:11 pm

Post by 21st100 » Fri Oct 05, 2007 8:35 pm

Its a good idea but using it solely for VOIP and having no telstra based phone line is suicide.
Emergency Calls cant be made...

I think its a good idea for public places like shopping centers and unis, and residential apartments :D but for houses in a neighborhood it not be that much of a success cause the coverage is limited to the strength of the router and unless every1 is ready to fork out $100 plus for an antenna and get a electrician to install it (alot of $$ there) it may just work....I like the idea...i dont mind at all but there has to be some kind of assurance that people will use it..
Kind of useless if u spend $$ on a new router and antennas and no one uses it.

Best for High Population Density Areas..


Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 3:21 pm
Location: Brisbane

Another Example

Post by Veteran » Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:10 pm

Several posts asked what happened to the wifi network in San Francisco. This article may have some answers. Don't bother reading it all, just the 7th, 6th and 5th last paragraphs.

http://web20.telecomtv.com/pages/?newsi ... c53e2a2a10

It shows that a community effort can work, but I must point out that that in their case there is no revenue. Many ISPs in other countries charge for the speed only and not GBs, so people can happily give it away.

Stealth's suggestion captures my imagination.


Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 3:21 pm
Location: Brisbane


Post by Veteran » Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:32 pm

On the question of carrier licences, one does not need to be a carrier, or have a license. One only needs to find a friendly existing carrier who will place a nominated carrier declaration over the network unit (for a small annual fee).

We would still need to get the lawyers to define the network unit. If the whole "Exetel Community Assisted Network" were considered as a single unit, it would be easy. If each access point needs its own declaration, the administration could kill us.

Does anyone know the Telecommunications Act, or is anyone a telecommunications lawyer?

Post Reply