I ordered a FON router for €17 incl P&P; last week and it arrived today. If you don’t know what FON is, the basic idea is that it is a wireless router which you use to share some of your broadband bandwidth with others. You share with two types of people - other FONeros called Linuses and Bills who get access for free and Aliens who pay a small amount to FON for access. If you want to be a Bill then FON do a revenue share on that income with you. If you are a Linus then you get free wireless broadband from any other FON installation worldwide when you are travelling. I’ve signed up as a Linus and if I decide to bring my laptop to Boqueira in Cork, then I should have free broadband from Pat Phelan’s internet cafe since he has FON set up too.

This is a lovely idea which obviously only starts working really well with a certain critical mass. It takes the subsidised boxes and some early adopters to seed the thing but looking at the map of Ireland, I see some activity. There are even installs in Ballydehob and Skibbereen. There is one other location listed in Bandon (Grove Leisure Club) but the icon does not show it as active.

Setup involved plugging it into the back of our existing Linksys router and powering it up. It provides two networks - one for sharing which has no access to your own LAN and one private encrypted one for your own use. I have heard no reports of it causing any security issues.

Even tho the price is now €29.95 incl P&P; but plus VAT, it is still a bargain for a wireless router and the reality for most people is that the amount of sharing they will be doing is minimal.

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