Thursday, May 24, 2007

Using your neighbor's wireless

The Wired Blog Network has a funny read: Request For Analogies: Using Open Wireless Connections Without Permission Is Like...

My favorite:

..reading the back of someone else's newspaper on the train.

Reading these, I was reminded of when my son came home from college for the summer several years ago. The neighbor's wifi signal from across the street was stronger than ours from downstairs. He did what any enterprising young man would do... he attached to the stronger signal. Several weeks into the summer the neighbor called in shock that the boy had been "using" their wifi. I asked the neighbor where he got his Internet service, knowing full well that there was only one provider at the time. When I suggested that we were all sharing the same pipe anyway, and that sharing the air was not such a big deal, he was actually fine with it. He just had to think it through a bit first.

Personally, I love to watch the neighbors hit my open wifi. They access some weird stuff...

6 comments:

Luis said...

Seeing the traffic going on your wifi network is always curious ;) As a sidenote, in Spain and some other countries in Europe, sniffing other's data on your own wifi network is a crime, even if it's your network.

Kevin Gamble said...

Ahh, good point. I'm not sniffing though--I don't care that much. I just look at the logs every now and then.

floyd said...

Hmmm, I wonder if that argument would work for water and electricity too... :)

Kevin Gamble said...

If they were taping into my power or water it would be costing me money. Their using my wireless doesn't cost me anything. It's more like them enjoying the music I'm playing on my stereo. If more than one person is listening it doesn't degrade my experience. I have all sorts of excess capacity on my access point. I'm sure I would feel differently if I lived in an apartment and many neighbors were trying to use it. That could potentially degrade my performance.

floyd said...

True... I was working for the idea that if the source is community, then sharing is justified. Of course following your last string of logic, this is fine as long as other's listening to my music doesn't disrupt my capability to listen as well. But if I start losing every other note...

Alexander Gunpacker said...

Bandwidth isn't free...someone is paying for it somewhere...taking it without express or implied permission is wrong and illegal.