Sunday, February 24, 2008

Stealing (?) Bandwidth

Our cable modem died a few days ago so I've been sporadically connecting to some random unsecured wireless network(s) around the neighborhood.

It feels weird. Not exactly illegal I suppose, but somehow it seems a bit wrong. Can't quite think of the right analogy... it's not like tapping into their utilities like water or electricity, because my usage isn't adding any expense. Maybe it's kinda like hiding in the bushes and peering through a window to watch a pay-per-view movie. That's creepy, and I don't think it's a good analogy either. I guess the only real impact on the owner of the network is that my use could slow down their access. For that reason, I won't upload any of my Tour of California pics and video until I fix my own modem situation. I guess I also won't watch today's live coverage either. Sigh...

Why do people leave their wireless router open anyway??

8 comments:

jen said...

Cuz they're too dumb to close it off?

Or, maybe they believe in sharing. So they really really want you to be able to use their wireless. See, no need to feel guilty ;-)

Me? I'd have watched the stage.

Anonymous said...

How do you not leave your wireless router open??? I'm clueless.

Dave said...

I leave my wireless open so I can log data from the uninvited guests ;)

BicyclePortland.net said...

anonymous, I believe Marco is referring to encrypting the signal. Most routers have a WEP key 64 bit, 128 bit etc. that you can set up so only you can use your precious internet. And obviously a good idea. I use 64 bit and have not had any ill effects from slowdowns etc. It's not hard to set up. Look it up on a help tutorial or whatever you have for your router. Generally, you have to first physically connect your computer to the router to set it up, with a USB cable or ethernet cable. This way the router knows it's really you setting it up and not some hobo on your sidewalk.

Kk said...

Hey wasn't there a time (like in the Pleistocene) when you could plug in a TV anywhere on the planet and get a signal? Really, Marco, google's adds will still come up so it's all paid for one way or another.

Tour deprivation is just wrong. I watched ToC from the media pespective and those guys were uploading with impunity anywhere they could - 'cause 'ya gotta get the story in Maaannnn!'

One day soon the signal will be totally free and they'll find new things to charge for. Get the story. Consider it freedom of information.

Marco Fanelli said...

Back in business with a new cable modem... Not sure how, but I think one of my neighbors noticed I was on his/hers because within minutes of my connecting, the network disappeared. From good strength to completely vanished. It happened twice, so I stopped getting on. Good to break the internet addiction anyway, especially after last week when my internet time probably exceeded my riding time three-to-one.

anony-miss said...

Next time you gotta take yout laptop and go to a hotel parking lot. Most places don't password their network anymore. I've 'stolen' internet from hotels a number of times when travelling.

Marco Fanelli said...

Oh I've got no problem with using a network of some business place. But it does feel weird to think your neighbors discover you're using their connection.