Wireless Hotspots

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ForumAdmin
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Re: Legals

Post by ForumAdmin » Sat Oct 06, 2007 7:46 am

Veteran wrote: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?
We have a working knowledge of the act.

Applying for a carrier license and then complying with it's conditions isn't particularly onerous - other than keeping track of the payments due.

If it's required to get a carrier license to do what might eventually be seen as being a good addition to the service then we would do that.

As you point out - such a scheme can be run in conjunction with an entity that already has a license.

stealth
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Location: Brisbane

Post by stealth » Sat Oct 06, 2007 8:40 am

I too have a DD-WRT linksys router laying around that I can setup to assist Exetel in setting up the "Exetel Community Assisted Network"

iantull
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Post by iantull » Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:41 am

Another issue I have found is erecting any kind of external antennae, if one was required and depending on your local council by-laws. This of cause would only be a concern if you had a neighbour that was a problem and complain about anything they can. As an amateur I have been in that situation in the past.
As for the idea I think it is great and would be prepaired to offer services where required. I am located on the Central Coast of NSW, very close to a popular 24 hour stopping spot for both north and southbound, about to erect a tower and already have 3 adsl connections with exetel. Many years in the IT industry and now retired, so I have an occasional hour here and there to kill. I will continue to check the progress of this forum.
Keep the good ideas coming guys.

rrottier
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:09 pm

Count me in

Post by rrottier » Sat Oct 06, 2007 10:43 am

I would definitely sign up as well, living in a block with 40 units of which quite a few is holiday units this would be a great business concept. I also like the idea of having the bandwidth a bit better utilised. The mesh idea sounds good as well, in a block of flats this could balance the traffic if there are a few people providing this service.

Muso
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Location: Sydney

Post by Muso » Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:14 am

Excellent idea at any location! :D
If all else fails, read the instructions!

Piko
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Post by Piko » Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:34 pm

Living in a share house with a shared ADSL2 connection...cabled not wireless...it's just faster you know? anyhow! thats the thing, we hit download limits. How would an end user know who to charge the excess usage? and then convince the user to pay the extra charge?

One obsessive torrent leacher on your hotspot and what do you do with the excess charges? Prepaid per data usage would work well, but having a home user with such a setup and facilities to manage billing doesnt seem viable to me? Perhaps i'm missing something?
This statement is false.

dlinker
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Boingo

Post by dlinker » Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:25 pm

Why build this when there are already solutions out there that you can just use. Boigo offers a turnkey solution and have over 100,000 hotspots globally - and iPass is a Boingo partner so all iPass users can also use Boigo hotspots.

Check it out at http://www.boingo.com/partner/carrier.html

Edit - I have nothing to do with Boingo - just read about it a while back and this whole discussion made me remember this.

hbechaz
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Contact:

Count me in

Post by hbechaz » Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:53 am

I'd be in it.

I already have 3 WRT54G based routers (one stock, one DD-WRT, one openWRT) and know of atleast one neighbour that would be happy to share.

I'd have to trade up to a faster plan for it to be interactively usable by multiple homes but I'd still be in front by sharing this cost with my neighbours.

ForumAdmin
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Re: Boingo

Post by ForumAdmin » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:15 am

dlinker wrote:Why build this when there are already solutions out there that you can just use. Boigo offers a turnkey solution and have over 100,000 hotspots globally - and iPass is a Boingo partner so all iPass users can also use Boigo hotspots.

Check it out at http://www.boingo.com/partner/carrier.html

Edit - I have nothing to do with Boingo - just read about it a while back and this whole discussion made me remember this.
There will be an increasing number of such 'solutions' and who knows what will hapen over time - certainly not Exetel.

We are exploring a range of possible solutions with the objective of lowering the end user cost of getting internet connectivity

Veteran
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EXETEL COMMUNITY-ASSISTED NETWORK

Post by Veteran » Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:43 pm

Now this is interesting. Every business model needs an "edge" and Exetel and partners may have one. Exetel probably has more experts and tinkerers per square metre than any other ISP. (I'm here because Exetel's static IP addresses let me remote into my PCs from other locations, and I'm sure many customers have stories.) This could be turned to a winning advantage.

There are limiting community networks at low cost, and all manner of commercial business models (eg, Boingo) that are usually high cost. Combining the two could be the winner.

I presume the access point partners would get consideration (eg discount) for their efforts. They could also help target the new customers. And like Open Source communities, the tinkerers would be doing what they enjoy most.

Exetel could win, getting cheap access by putting more capacity through existing ADSL than by establishing new services. I presume some these gains would go toward the extra overheads to administer two brand new classes of customers, some for the "partner" discounts and some in budget prices. So it can be win, win, win.

One risk would be reliability. Some connections may prove unreliable for technical reasons or through lack of time, skill or dedication (or if someone's access point goes down while they are on holiday). Another risk could be neighbourhood “web-hog” disputes. The end user service agreements and pricing will need to accommodate the risks.

Get out the calculators.

karlbowden
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Post by karlbowden » Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:07 pm

For what it's worth, if all it required of me as an end user is to put in a dd-wrt router (either replacing my existing adsl modem or just plugging in the back), Then I'm all for it.

The advantages i'd see is if this would then allow me to use other's hotspots and have the usage taken out of my account, when i'm roaming with the lappy, especially if there was linux vpn support. PPTP (Simple windows vpn) was real easy to setup in ubuntu for me to connect back to work.
If Linux is not the answer, then your not asking the right question.

NickF
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:18 am
Location: Tasmania

Post by NickF » Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:35 am

Very interesting to see all the points discussed here.

We started installing wireless hotspots in business's around Australia around 6 months ago. We used to use a company located in Hungary, allthough sadly due to lack of support issues, payments & lack of development of needed features we decided to scrap them as our reseller provider.

Instead the last 6 months we have been developing our own hotspot reseller service/system. We are currently in the last stages of our test faze but the few test hotspot's we have implemented are generating a nice and steady income.

Our system works like the following.

A LinkSys Wireless AP is installed in the location. This AP has custom configuration/firmware downloaded and installed onto it. Once a customer connects to our wireless hotspot the AP captures any attempt to visit any URL and forward’s them to our payment/login page. From here a customer can either login (if they have existing credits) or purchase more using a credit card (we process all our payments using Eway payment gateway & internet merchant facilities on our bank account). Once the card is processed the user instantly can login and begin to web browse as normal.

We actually don't deal with customers, We allow for Operators/Resellers to sign up via us and the control is in the Reseller's hands (they can create custom packages, locations etc etc. from our backend management system). The funds are all controlled by the reseller (all they need is an Eway Payment Gateway & Internet Merchant Facilities on their bank account). We take a 20% commission on every sale which we invoice the reseller for at the end of each month.

I understand that my system has little relevance for what Exetel are trying to achieve how-ever i think with some quick & smart modifications to our current coding system our solution could be exactly what Exetel are after (i have sent emails off in regards to this).

If anyone is after some more information in regards to our system (which we launch to the public in around 3 weeks time - http://hotspot.wireless.net.au ) feel free to shoot me an email at nick@wireless.net.au.

- Nick

Country Bumkin
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Location: Regional QLD

Some Thoughts on Sharing

Post by Country Bumkin » Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:18 pm

Some thoughts on how community assistance product might work.

Various OPs have assumed different types of functionality for this service, I think
the choices can be reduced.

(1) Typical public hotspot - Usually a business trying to increase custom.
There are problems here -
(a) The market is already well served, it is hard to find anything unique to Exetel.
(b) It will be a declining market as HSPDA capable mobile phones will offer a cheaper
service anywhere, only foreign tourists would be users.

(2) Public residential
An Exetel residential customer puts up a wireless antenna and Exetel signs up customers
to use it. This has the problem that exetel incurs the obligation to the new customer but
has no control over the management of the link to that customer, a receipe for dispute disaster.

(3) Private Residential
An exetel residential customer agrees with a personal contact to share internet facilities
and sponsors the new customer to exetel. This would make them a hotspot manager (HsM).
This has a better chance of working because the limitations are understood before starting.

In particular, connecting to a HsM assumes:

(a) The service is at the convenience of the HsM, who may at any time decide to discontinue
the arrangement.

(b) Maintenance of the link is on a best effort basis as the HsM may not be available
(eg on holidays, sick etc) or have spare equipment for fast repairs if there is a failure.

(c) The equipment cost, speed and maintenance of the physical data link from the HsM to the
new customer is entirely the responsibility of the participants and not exetel.
It might be a segment of ethernet in a shared house to a multi-hop wireless data link for some geeks.

(d) Roaming is very limited and would only be allowed to HsMs who have indicated in advance they
would accept visitors and have arranged the physical link specification in advance.

(e) A HsM never handles any money on behalf of exetel and has no liability other customers debts.


There is probably a market here in legitimising the reasonably widespread practice of house
mates or neighbors sharing an ADSL service against the present terms and conditions.

Advantages Exetel could offer include...

(1) Accurate allocation of data consumption costs, no more blame over who used the quota or
who pays the bill.

(2) Quarantining of liability for internet conduct by others, don't blame the HsM for other
peoples actions.

(3) Improved security by encryption. (see below)


Users who are part of a shared facility could have a Virtual Account (VA) in exetel which
is accessed by a VPN from their computer or router to a server in Exetel which does authorisation,
metering, billing and proxy to the internet.

Some properties of a VA could be...

(1) Security by end to end VPN encryption.

(2) The same security transfers liability (copyright infringement etc) to
the VA customer rather than the HsM.

(3) A VA has no speed specification since this is outside the control of Exetel, however
Exetel may set guidelines on the ratio of VA customers to shared bandwidth to provide
a reasonable QoS.

(4) The data quantity actually used by a VA would be deducted from the HsM usage.
It would be an advantage if this was automatically detected as it would allow some roaming
by a VA and improve reliability if two nearby HsMs had an independent link to each other with
automatic failover. Exetel could also monitor the loading on links to help assure VA QoS.

(5) Part of the VA income would be credited to the HsM, however paying cash to
individuals has administrative and tax issues so the credits could only be used against
other Exetel expenses. If cash payments are wanted then an ABN must be provided.

(6) Support - Exetel support is responsible for the HsM connection as at present and should be
able to simulate a login to the VA VPN to confirm it operates. The HsM should be provided
with a restricted test VA to confirm the VPN network routing configuration works.

This level of IT is elaborate for retail users so exetel should provide detailed
specifications for recommended configurations. This could include offering, or coordinating with
equipment suppliers to offer 'exetel approved' preconfigured HsM kits.

Exetel could recognise some enthusiastic customers with a 'guru' status and offer some funding
or account credits to :
(a) Develop, test and document equipment configurations to provide HsM services.
(b) Operate a forum supporting specific equipment or network configurations.
(c) Optionally provide onsite support in specific geographic areas with costs agreed between the
guru and the HsM.

(7) Account termination - Since Exetel has little control over HsMs there will be cases where
they simply switch off, churn or have to be canceled for misconduct or incompetence, leaving the
VA customers isolated. This would be the only circumstance where exetel could canvass
other HsMs or customers in the vicinity to see if they wished to offer service to the VA customer.

There should be temporary options like dialup backup or hire of a wireless modem to provide access
till alternatives are organised but there will be cases where the only option is for a VA customer
to pay for their own physical link.

Regards C Bumkin

ForumAdmin
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Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:41 pm

Really thoughtful analysis.

User avatar
Omo
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Post by Omo » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:05 am

I reakon its a stupid idea. Why would I want to give randoms access to my internet and download limit. Every MB they download is another MB I cant download
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