Connection problems…

Connection problems…

I’m starting to wonder if it would be worth paying for a second high-speed Internet connection just to have a backup when my primary connection goes down. That’s been a regular occurrence since the beginning of January. I have a feeling that there’s a problem in my neighborhood. I see Comcast trucks parked on nearby streets every day. Of course, it could have been related to the phone company replacing some poles on the cross street near mine today too. Very frustrating.

There’s lots of talk lately about municipalities setting free city-wide WiFi. I have some reservations about government utility monopolies. Can you imagine if the government was in charge of providing telephone service? Imagine trying to get tech support when your Internet connection wasn’t working. From the same people who bring you the DMV. Yecch.

Still it would be nice to have that as a backup to my cable high-speed Internet. Ah, the trials and tribulations of living in 21st century America.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
5 comments
  • IMHO free wifi is not a good thing. Too many people will just jump onto the network with no regard for security. This in turn will allow crackers and script kiddies to run wild on unsuspecting users.

  • Couple thoughts:

    I don’t know where you’re located in Salem but there’s probably an open WiFi spot nearby. You may also want to invest in a WiFi antenna (http://www.oreillynet.com/lpt/wlg/448). With the antenna you may even be able to pick up the Salem Open Net (http://www.salemopen.net/locations.html). I’d imagine that what you’d save by not having a backup ISP would pay for a used laptop. 

    Regarding WiFi and the government utility monopolies. I’d put free WiFi in the category of garbage collection. They may or may not be there and there’s nobody to complain to. If that’s a problem, you can hire a premium garbage collection service.

    As for Mark’s comment—I do not think those words mean what you think they mean. Crackers (malicious hackers) are an issue for someone who owns an unsecured hot spot because the owner of the connection can be accused of any activity on that connection. For example, if a terrorist (script kiddy) tries to hack the pentagon, somebody will be knocking on the door of the hot spot owner.

    Now there is a slight security issue for anyone using an unencrypted connection through a WiFi access point regardless of whether the connection is free or paid. So from a security perspective there’s no difference between free and paid WiFi.

    As for using any WiFi connection, there’s always a trade off between security and convenience. If you avoid checking your bank accounts and other financial transactions, what’s the worst somebody may get? Realistically, how long would your e-mail, IM, and web browsing interest anybody other than a marketer?

  • While I share Dom’s reticence about utilities, I’ve found that the DMV has come light years ahead in improving its service.  I usually go to the Beverly DMV and find it swift and orderly.

  • JohnH – On the surface you are correct and I agree. But if someone is running Ethereal while someone is logging into something, all of their passwords would be clearly visible. Now add to that how most people don’t have alot of different passwords and things go downhill fast. God forbid one of those is also that person’s admin password, ftp or paypal info and now you have some real problems.

    Sorry if I sound paranoid but I prefer to “err” on the side of caution. wink

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