Re: Cox opens the gates to the country’s largest Wi-Fi hotspot network

[Note:  This comment comes from friend Bob Frankston.  DLH]

 This may sound fine in theory but in practice it’s a reminder of why thin Wi-Fi coverage is problematic. I’ve been using these access points as a Comcast/Xfinity) subscriber and find that in many ways it makes things worse because with today’s protocols once you get captured by an access point you’re at the mercy of that access point and if anything fails then you’re struck.

 Some apps, like T-Mobile’s voice over Wi-Fi can test the connection and fall back to cellular but that can’t work in general unless the app both is very aware of the particular radios being used and is the immediate hop away from that radio. Not only 

is that impractical it wreaks havoc on the very simplicity that has made the Internet happen. Given that the coverage is indeed thin and much of it is marginal because it’s only where the polls just so happen to be you’ll find that it’s often better to just turn off Wi-Fi.

 And you can because with a 4G/LTE phone you get pretty good coverage. Sure using Wi-Fi might avoid the caps but such competition may force the cellular carriers to remove such caps. For that reason I have to applaud this effort to hasten the race to the bottom. (As per http://rmf.vc/NotSuper — sorry about URLs but don’t want to have to repeat the reasoning.

 I’ve been taking pictures of all that gear blackening our skies. Barlow Keenan explained to me that all this gear is hanging, often perilously, between the poles in order to avoid  pole attachment fee. Yet we all paying for the vast amount of new gear for those gigabit railroad tracks in the sky running 0% of capacity. Adding access points costs essentially nothing once we’ve paid for the new poles and wires and moving all the power lines and all that just to feed this boondoggle. It may be a race to the bottom but we are financing it.

 And maybe all for naught. What happens if I add an SSID to my home LAN called “CableWiFi” – will all device connect to it thinking it’s Cox? It would be an effective denial of service. Also there is seems to be no link encryption so trusting apps without end-to-end encryption would be vulnerable. Are these concerns valid?

 Of course we could come up with new complex protocols to implement billing at layer zero and add new in-network encryption protocols and … or we could just move on.

 

Cox opens the gates to the country’s largest Wi-Fi hotspot network 
By Kevin Fitchard Aug 27 2013