Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Not so much a thought experiment as a single neuron misfire.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.




Open the private networks
  (+2, -1)
(+2, -1)
  [vote for,


The aim of this program is to create a world-wide wireless network. An ISP customer should only pay once (at home) and be able to surf for free everywhere else.


If every user who owns an access point would allow all other users who also own an access point to surf for free, then we could surf word-wide and only pay once (at home).


The program would consist of a database which contains the login data of all access points . Every user who wants to use the program first has to enter at least one valid access point login data. Like this we can verify that everybody is sharing their internet connections, and nobody is just taking.

Every time the verified user connects to the internet the database should be updated with the new or changed database from the main server.

The program would allow all verified users to get the access information to all logged wireless access points. There are basically two types of access points: 1. Open Access Point (no password protection): Here the program only has a mapping function. 2. Closed Access Point (password protected): In addition to the mapping function the program also gives its user the access data to the closed access point.

The program should be as automatic as possible. It would be great if every open access point seen by a user is automatically logged by the program. It would also be comfortable if the program could configure the connection to open and closed access points automatically.

If a user is connected to an access point or sees an access point in his surrounding the access point should be confirmed as "valid" in the main database. If an access point hasn't been checked as valid for a certain time it should be marked as "unsure". And if an access point hasn't been seen for a long time its data should be deleted from the main database.

Hence the program has two basic functions: 1. It opens closed access points for all verified users. 2. It maps open and closed access points.

The aim is to be able to surf for free all around the world . Or at least to surf for free if you own an access point somewhere. Hence the program should be open source and published over sourceforge.net and luftnetz.ch (sometimes offline).

Basically the idea is somewhat similar to the web-based wireless access points directories. The main differences are that in the directory proposed here also closed access points are included, that the directory is only open for those who participate, and finally that the directory updates automatically whenever a user sees an access point.


Basically this would be a combination of the following (already existing) tools:

1. Database that connects automatically with a user and keeps itself up-to-date.

2. Tool (like Winconfig, AirFart or Prismstumber) to find all Access Points. Those Access Points then have to be entered automatically into the database.

3. Optional Tool (like AirSnort or WEPCrack) to open all closed Access Points.

4. Connection Tool (like Wificonfig) that connects to an Access Point and checks if the connection is valid.

Connecting those three (or four) tools in a clever way, one could get a lot of access point data in very short time. And then it wouldn't say "surf on 12'000 Access Points for only 79 USD per month" but "surf on 12'000 Access Points for free"...

martypants, Apr 28 2005


       I'm a little unsure of exactly what is being proposed but I think it is that all people who own an open AP can, reciprocally, use any other open AP.   

       Some questions:   

       1. How does an AP owner indemnify themselves against nefarious use of their network connection?
2. How does an AP owner in a remote location keep their open AP data from being deleted from the DB?
3. Are there more than two DBs here? Your fourth paragraph is ambiguous.
4. What's the point of the "closed" APs? Since verification requires you have an open AP I don't understand the role of the closed APs.
5. Why is an encryption defeating program like WEPCracker a part of this?
6. Does the DB store the MAC address of valid users or something?
bristolz, Apr 28 2005

       to answer your points...   

       1. not at all... wireless connections are insecure by definition...   

       2. in connecting himself to the access point he keeps it valid...   

       3. there's only one database... but as you cannot connect to the database if you have no internet connection the database needs to be local (on your computer) as well as global (on some server)... the aim is to keep those two databases synchronized the whole time...   

       4. and 5. there are two kinds of access points... open access points without password protection... and closed access points with password protection... programs like WEPcrack crack the passwords of those closed access points...   

       6. the database stores the MAC address of the access points... and some login data to identify the users...   

       by the way: many thanks for your comments...
martypants, Apr 28 2005

       The question still stands: why are you cracking passwords of AP's that aren't voluntarily part of this network?
half, Apr 28 2005

       Er, that's what I wanted to know. At least one of the things.
bristolz, Apr 28 2005

       Yes, I noticed. I wanted to know too, but, the question wasn't answered so I asked it again hoping to elicit further explanation of "closed access points" (another request that you made that didn't look like it was addressed)   

       If it is, as it sort of sounds, hacking in to non-participating wireless networks, then the whole idea goes kaput on that basis. If they are participating encrypted networks, why wouldn't the encryption key be distributed in the database?   

       Of course, there is the pesky problem of the common internet service agreements saying that you can't share your connection. Maybe changing that was part of the idea and I missed it. Does that only apply if you're stringing twisted-pair across the fence to your neighbor's house?
half, Apr 28 2005

       My original comment, before I decided to be atypically open-minded and polite was: "This reads like a malnourished mesh network scheme." On my second reading I realized that this shares little with mesh networking in general but at least mesh networking has, as a basic enabling feature, agreements in place for sharing and backhaul.
bristolz, Apr 28 2005

       What do you mean "atypically open-minded and polite"? I've always found you to be fairly open-minded.   

       It now occurs to me that you couldn't get the encryption key for a node that came on line since you last got a copy of the database. I guess that's why the cracking would be needed.   

       If that is the reason for the cracking then I'm left with the question of how this snazzy new program would know that it was okay to crack this AP if it didn't know whether it was a participant or not. If the database information containing the encryption key couldn't yet be available, how could the node id be known to be a network participant?
half, Apr 29 2005

       maybe the idea behind cracking WEPs is something like: either you participate out of your own free will... or we'll make you participate... not very nice idea I admit... but hey... the idea is only half baked...   

       about mesh... i tried to launch a mesh network in switzerland... but just didn't find enough people to participate (we only have approx. 500 APs)...   

       that's actually also why i am searching for something to make people participating in a free network... even if they have no clue about hard- or software...
martypants, Apr 30 2005

       [martypants], are you a Marxist? Not that there's anything wrong with that.
bungston, May 01 2005

       Marxist??? Wow... I feel flattered... Actually I am a rather liberal economist... Prefering authors like Adam Smith to Karl Marx... But never mind my professional beliefs...   

       The idea proposed here could actually have a small Marxist touch... The tool proposed here would give everyone a free internet access... And hence it would equalize the classes in this field...   

       But letting aside economics I believe that it would be fun having a tool that maps all open access points... So that one could see that free world wide internet access is actually already possible...   

       PS: I am actually writing this post in London on an open access point I found opposite the building I am currently living in... Not that the owner of the access point knows of anything... But if he should be in Switzerland... He is welcome to surf on my access point in return... That's the spirit of my idea!!!
martypants, May 02 2005

       Did you realize that FON (www.fon.com) makes something rather similar... And seems to be rather successful in doing so (see all the funding they got from Google and Skype)...
martypants, Oct 31 2006


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle