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Wireless Networking Hardware

Mobile Wifi Backpack 278

Posted by michael
from the share-the-love dept.
ruzel writes "Julian Bleecker's web site TechKwonDo describes a project that is a wifi base station in a backpack. 'WiFi.Bedouin is a wearable, mobile 802.11b node disconnected from the global Internet. It forms a WiFi "island Internet" challenging conventional assumptions about WiFi and suggesting new architectures for digital networks that are based on physical proximity rather than solely connectivity.' The motivation is essentially subversive but what other uses are there for a device like this?"
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Mobile Wifi Backpack

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  • by baudilus (665036) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:21PM (#8683369)
    So instead of war driving will there be war running?
    • by ComradeX13 (226926) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:24PM (#8683418)
      Gotta... keep... going... ISO... almost... finished...
    • Yeah, we'll all be runnin' round trying to crash each others backpacks. In the end the person with the most updated, most secure OS and software on his backpack will be the winner. It will be so much fun, the nerds ultimate wet dream!
    • Try War Panting. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by b0r0din (304712)
      Bah. I hate exercise.

      Seriously, though, I don't really see a great advantage of having a singular wifi-spot and no internet connectivity. If you had, say, a satellite uplink, you could then provide wifi to a group in an area, but it's not like I could post on slashdot if all I had was an intranet island, particularly one with minimal range.

      I can see some interesting social environments that could crop up as a result of wireless in general, though I think it'd happen along the PDA or bluetooth front. Infor
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Nah, I'd say the whole purpose of being in the woods is appreciating nature, and just enjoying yourself. Who cares about technology? After all, a good number of hikers use GPS and so on.
      • by jarrell (545407) on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:52PM (#8684569)
        Well, you don't see a use because you live in a country with essentially unmonitored and easy access to information...

        I see this as being of great interest to dissident groups. You disseminate information from the backpack cell. Members just need a laptop, and to be in the vicinity. They don't even have to really know each other, or who the guy with the backback is. The gov't would have to quickly pick up on the ap, and zero in on the signal.. And they wearer can be walking through the street market, as are the people with the laptops busily downloaded the censored information...

        Drawing from today's headlines, say the Taiwanese gov't cracks down on the KMT; they could walk through the nightmarket and exchange info. bring the AP to an internet cafe, and not even use the cafe's network, but still have an online exchange.

        There's all sorts of subversive uses.

  • by Anonymous Coward


    I dunno... Looking stupid, maybe?
    • Re:Other uses.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      I work at a fixed wireless ISP in a rural area that has been using this for a while to do hookups, we have a backpack with one of our modems, a battery, inverter, and a netgear AP, one guy wears the backpack and takes an antenna to look for signal while another guy with a wireless pda telnets into the modem to read off the signal, this can also be done with one person with the pda mounted on the antenna pole, its proved pretty usefull and makes our hookups alot easier.
  • What the fuck? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by James A. M. Joyce (764379) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:23PM (#8683408) Journal
    "WiFi.Bedouin is a wearable, mobile 802.11b node disconnected from the global Internet. It forms a WiFi "island Internet" challenging conventional assumptions about WiFi and suggesting new architectures for digital networks that are based on physical proximity rather than solely connectivity."

    What the hell does this mean? Sounds like a bunch of buzzwords thrown together about a project nobody wants that solves a problem that doesn't exist.
    • Re:What the fuck? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:27PM (#8683471)
      What the hell does this mean? Sounds like a bunch of buzzwords thrown together about a project nobody wants that solves a problem that doesn't exist.

      No kidding. I was stumped at the
      'WiFi.Bedouin is a wearable, mobile 802.11b node disconnected from the global Internet. It forms a WiFi "island Internet" challenging conventional assumptions about WiFi
      part.

      Disconnected from the global internet!? So you can communicate with a computer, say, 20 yards away? If I were in that situation, I would walk the 20 yards and login there.

      Seriously, there might be a few applications out there, but none that I can think of off the top of my head. Unless you're a backyard commando. Then you might be able to come up with some use for it.
    • Re:What the fuck? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sporty (27564) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:32PM (#8683559) Homepage
      Lemme break it down for you.

      WiFi.Bedouin is a wearable, mobile 802.11b node disconnected from the global Internet.


      It's a wifi station that's not plugged into a broaddband connection.


      It forms a WiFi "island Internet"


      It has no uplink.


      challenging conventional assumptions about WiFi and suggesting new architectures for digital networks


      Usually, there's an uplink, right?


      that are based on physical proximity rather than solely connectivity.


      Think of it like Gnutella. Anyone can become a hub, and if two people connect to it, you are part of the same network. Now imagine gnutella over something like, CB radio. It's all proximity based.


      All inventions aren't about solving an existing problem. Sometimes, it's about enhancing life.

      • by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun@noSPAm.gmail.com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:50PM (#8683811) Journal

        Don't forget, it's 'subversive.' Yes, you too can destabilize government and society by carting around a fucking access point.

    • Re:What the fsck? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Matt1313 (165628)
      What the hell does this mean? Sounds like a bunch of buzzwords thrown together about a project nobody wants that solves a problem that doesn't exist.

      I guess you could also say the same thing about the Television or the Radio... there wasn't really a problem to be solved but someone designed a "machine" that would allow for the dissemination of information to a vast number of the populace. Granted TV/Radio hardly ever disseminates true information anymore...

      Point being, just because there isn't a "prob
      • Matt1313 [slashdot.org]

        I guess you could also say the same thing about the Television or the Radio... there wasn't really a problem to be solved but someone designed a "machine" that ... [further ignorant blah-blah-blah snipped]

        Of course there was a a real problem that radio was invented to solve: communication with ships and sea! Television had similar, though less specific , motivations (extending the range and vesatility of human communication).

        In general, technology for its own sake is pointless. Combine this w

    • What the hell does this mean? Sounds like a bunch of buzzwords thrown together about a project nobody wants that solves a problem that doesn't exist.

      Heh, I thought the same thing when I read this but couldn't think up a polite way to mention it.

      The phrase "island Internet" is already a bit of an oxymoron because most of my use of the internet relies on its sheer size and ubiquity. I use Google to look up things I don't know about, which works because someone somewhere around the world is likely to ha

    • Re:What the fuck? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by xenocyst (618913) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:41PM (#8683686)
      its pure pr bullshit, all they did was put a low power access point in a backpack with some batteries and a powerbook playing server
      heh, i wouldn't mind stealing one... but other than that, not very interesting
      (-1 Marketing Bullshit)
    • Re:What the fuck? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by marcelmouse (74690)
      Anybody recognize artspeak when they read it? Try reading the phrase "an apparatus that forces one to reconsider and question notions of [buzzwords]" or "challenging conventional assumptions about [buzzwords]" to figure out what is going on here. The actual tech content is not what the FA is about (I did R the FA, BTW). These are the phrases that you put in your artist's statement, either to please the people who funded you, or to try to please people who might fund you. So, the text that you're reading
    • While I think the usefulness of this is somewhat limited, things like these are made to be disruptive and are aimed somewhat at the more political dissidents among us.

      For instance, let's say you ride the bus or subway to work. You hop the subway and power up this backpack and encourage fellow riders to start swapping movies, music, whatever for a half hour. It's a grassroots sort of way to make a statement against the *IAA. This applies the same way if you meet at a local coffeeshop, pub, bookstore, etc
    • by wurp (51446)
      This guy's a troll from K5. He will sometimes post good stuff, but I personally hate the mental effort involved in trying to figure out if someone's espousing something they believe in or just yanking my chain. I recommend ignoring him.
    • Re:What the fuck? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ruzel (216220)
      Yeah, it is a lot of buzzwords, agreed. But if you read deeper into the documentation on the site, the "subversive" nature of the device is to use it to intercept signals from people using wifi in a Starbucks or an airport or something. Without realizing it, instead of hooking up to Boingo, they've hooked up to you. There's some fun to be had there.
      _____________________________
  • by raider_red (156642) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:24PM (#8683417) Journal
    There are some military, missionary, and humanitarian groups who could use this set up work group networks in a remote location. True, you could do the same with ad-hoc networking, but this gives a one-click-connect option.
  • Other uses? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mahdi13 (660205) <icarus.lnx@gmail.com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:24PM (#8683420) Journal
    The motivation is essentially subversive but what other uses are there for a device like this?
    LAN party
    Anytime...anywhere
    • An immediate use that springs to mind is a bunch of students gathering at a campus cafeteria to trade musc, video etc... without anyone (University IT, RIIA, FBI, Egg Council) tracking what you trade.
    • by silentbozo (542534) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:44PM (#8683731) Journal
      Actually, if you had enough traffic density, this could act as a supplement to wired WiFi access. Consider FidoNet - nothing but nodes that talked to other nodes when able (ie, during the middle of the night for a few minutes when long distance charges were the least). You could send non-time-critical (encrypted) mail via a local node, and hopefully, if it ever linked up to the main network, your mail would make it. You'd probably want to keep broadcasting this mail for delivery until it was accepted by a minimum number of unwired nodes, or until you got confirmation that it had been sent.

      This would also be an interesting application for a freenet-like network. A mobile, distributed collection of nodes could contain a lot of information, possibly distributed backups, local caches of streaming media, etc. AND, you wouldn't necessarily have to tote around backpacks either - stick one of these in the trunk of your car, and you can have a mobile node in traffic.

      Lastly, if you give these nodes the capability to smart-mesh traffic if there are enough of them nearby, you could introduce wired endpoints that would turn a collection of semi-isolated nodes into a full interconnected wired network.
  • by bc90021 (43730) * <bc90021@bc9002[ ]et ['1.n' in gap]> on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:24PM (#8683425) Homepage
    Yes, it's cool, but this seems a little over the top:

    "WiFi.Bedouin is designed to be functional as well as provocative, expanding the possible meaning and metaphors about access, proximity, wireless and WiFi. This access point is not the web without wires. Instead, it is its own web , an apparatus that forces one to reconsider and question notions of virtuality, materiality, displacement, proximity and community. " (Emphasis theirs.)

    I can't imagine it will be long before this gets combined with WiMax [wimaxforum.org], and then none of that "not web without wires" will apply anymore.
  • Don't lose it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thebra (707939) *
    "...a small backpack containing an adapted 802.11b access point, RF amplifier, custom power supply and a PowerBook G4..."
    It seems kind of risky to carry all of that in a backpack. Not only if you drop it, water spill, but for some one to steal.
  • "island internet" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roger Keith Barrett (712843) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:25PM (#8683437)
    What idiot marketing person came up with the term "island internet". The words are mutually exclusive.

    It's a mobile WAN! This is a tech website, people, not cnn.com tech news!
    • "What idiot marketing person came up with the term "island internet". The words are mutually exclusive.

      The person that is trying to get Internet gambling on US soil. You see this way, he calls him self an "Island", puts a Hawiian shirt, some shorts and Sandals with black socks pulled up to his knees and voilla..... Instant offshore-onshore Gambling!!

    • by DR SoB (749180) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:36PM (#8683627) Journal
      Actually it's a mobile LAN.
      • Maybe it is a WAN. Just depends if the "W" in WAN means "Wireless".
        • But it doesn't. If it meant Wireless, that'd be a Wireless Area Network, which really doesn't make a lot of sense. I guess it could conceivably refer to the area covered by the wireless network, but you wouldn't normally called the "Wireless Area"...

          Of course, it could still be a valid Wide Area Network by some definition, but I do think LAN fits better.
          • I believe that it's used both ways. On my 802.11b gear I believe they use WAN as "Wireless Area Network." It's not a matter of proper terms, it's just how those particular marketing drones label it.

            but, having said that, if I could rewrite the post I would say LAN. I think that's closer to what I meant.
    • ... a professor in technology and culture. shudder. You know, a subset of those liberal arts people who all spend their entire lives studying "culture" but still manage to be more out of touch with the people they are studying than anyone else on the planet.
  • /.ed? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ComradeX13 (226926) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:27PM (#8683460)
    Quick, someone build one and run out to their server... I think we need a mirror.
  • by oogoody (302342)
    The internet used to be a bunch
    of us connecting via slooow dialup modems.
    The real internet is an idea. It's not
    the privately controlled backbone that
    the government can tap. The internet is
    anyone who wants to set up a network and
    connect.
  • by mao che minh (611166) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:27PM (#8683463) Journal
    YES!
  • Google Cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by sndtech (738958) <slashdot@sBLUEnd ... .com minus berry> on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:27PM (#8683477)
    google cache [google.com] since its already slashdotted
  • I can think of many good uses for a product like this but I wasn't able to find price information or some technical info such as the expected range of the access point when carried in a backpack, etc. I can't tell if they are marketing this or just doing a computer-Zen circle jerk. Still, it's a cool idea.

    Happy Trails!

    Erick

  • by ramk13 (570633) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:29PM (#8683508)
    It seems to me you'd need a critical mass of people who are interested in joining a random floating network for it to be of any use at all.

    Most people use their wireless to connect to the real internet, so what do they gain over the conventional internet. Some of the ideas listed on the website (which is getting thrashed at the moment) are redirecting conventional .com websites and streaming music. Might be nice in a place where people are already motivated to get together, i.e. a convention.
    • The usefuilness is close to what I see with the Free Wireless network I helped set up with a group of other people in my town.

      when the power goes out, we are still running because of the distributed nature of the system and it's access points the Local Cable provider can go down taking all cable modems offline and we are still online. If we lose our Net connection also then we are still live but not net connected.. Which is not bad as the microserver (a 486 baby AT motherboard with a 256Meg CF card for t
  • by idontgno (624372) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:30PM (#8683519) Journal
    and the site isn't answering.

    Anyway, I wondered (and I have to continue wondering, since the article is /.ed): what's the point? Portable LAN party? One-man mobile tentacle-pr0n provider? Geek chic?

    Seriously, without internet connectivity, what's it got? Or are we operating under the delusion that a clutch of wifi afficianados clustering around a self-contained hotspot will spontaneously generate useful, amusing, or at least non-trivial content?

    I don't get it.

    • Got in to the "Scenarios," finally, and it turns out that it's about subverting the dominant paradigm. Really.

      They suggest the backpack should be taken to places where there are existing hotspots to stir things up. They illustrate this with cute little graphics of the universal "NO" slash through Starbucks, McDonalds, and a bubble labelled "The Internet."

      Sample scenario: The Bedouin broadcasts a "provocative" SSID: "My Girlfriend Can Surf" When someone sees the access point and tries to connect to th

  • Cool tool (Score:4, Informative)

    by metlin (258108) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:31PM (#8683534) Journal
    Would be quite cool to try and study swarm/group behaviour of things like soliders on the warfront. The team squadron leader could have this on his/her back, and we could see how they spread out.

    Reminds me of some of the experiments that get performed at the BORG Lab [gatech.edu] here at GTech.

    Look at this guy's work [gatech.edu] on predicting user behaviour through GPS tracking and the like. Combine that with this kinda queen bee kinda behaviour, am sure we would get something really cool.

    Is this some kind of new paradigm in networking? :)
  • WiFi Pacman (Score:3, Interesting)

    by manganese4 (726568) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:31PM (#8683540)
    Personally I think if you mounted these on a bunch of Vespas, you could make good use of a City grid network for a game of Pacman or some other monster around the corner game. You will only be able to interact with other people when your Wifi signals overlap.
    • Re:WiFi Pacman (Score:3, Informative)

      by metlin (258108)
      Wasn't something like this done before for Quake?

      Different, yes - it used GPS positioning with VR for playing within a University Campus in Australia.

      Ah, here you go [infosatellite.com].
  • by LeeRagans (457865) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:32PM (#8683560) Homepage
    I can see a mobile gaming. Imagine having you own little private gaming world. It follows you and people can log on when you are near. Play with people on the train, bus, in the mall.

    Change the paradigm, find the game, not find access.

    The possibilities for private networks amongst friends that synchronize data when they pass seems pretty high as well. Can you say organized crime?

  • Error 404 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:32PM (#8683563)
    Error 404

    The page you requested was not found on the server. Perhaps you should try taking several steps in the geographic direction of the server you are requesting the document from.
  • This could be the end of pasty white geeks everywhere. LAN parties in the park.

    Ingredients:
    1) WiFi backpack
    2) laptops/palmtops
    3) Power Gloves
    4) VR glasses
  • by SandSpider (60727) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:40PM (#8683672) Homepage Journal
    By and large, this is what we call a "Powerbook." Okay, it does some stuff like translating URLs to arbitrary local pages, but that is of limited use. At least for OS X users.

    To understand what I mean, go to a Macworld Expo Keynote with your Airport card. You'll see dozens of different Airport networks pop up. Because everyone has Rendezvous, you can use iChat to chat with any of them, and you can use Rendezvous to share your locally available web pages automatically. They'll even show up in Safari's bookmarks. The best part is, you could see what pages you're going to, rather than being redirected at random.

    When I go to the AdHoc Conference this year (used to be MacHack), I'm going to have my powerbook set up with a Wiki so that, if I collaborate on my Hack again, it'll be an easy way to share the information. Also, during the Hack contest, anyone who wanted to could open a copy of SubEthaEdit and record their notes from the show. It allowed a quick collaboration between several to dozens of people on covering the show.

    So, in general, it just doesn't seem to do much for you, aside from pranks. I suppose it's good for people who don't have Rendezvous enabled throughout their operating system.
  • Multi-cell wifi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by G4from128k (686170) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:42PM (#8683714)
    It seems that the ultimate system would use at least two wifi cards with a search and load-balancer. One card would provide a connection while the other card searches other bands for the next connection. If both cards find an AP, the load balancer would provide twice thee bandwidth. When the first connection weakens, the system would do a hand-off to the second card. It may disrupt continuity of some internet services, that assume IP continuity, but it would let a user be ultra mobile -- skipping from wifi cell to wifi cell with little perceived break in connectivity.
  • by dekashizl (663505) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:43PM (#8683725) Journal
    Think back to around 1994/95... It wasn't unusual to have an unfirewalled computer with a static IP address sitting on the net. We used to ping-flood people we didn't like while playing Quake. Maybe even throw a WinNuke their way if they got nasty. Whatever, it was the Wild West, no laws, no morality, everything was free and fun. Looking back on that behavior, it was pretty immature and irresponsible, but we were just playing with the new technology.

    Fast forward almost a decade to now, and computers sit behind hardware firewalls with dynamic IP addresses, are assigned rotating NAT internal addresses, run virus protection and spyware removal softwares, must be constantly patched to fix security holes, and people are innundated with corporate media and SPAM.

    OK who could have predicted all this back then? Sure some had the ideas that it was coming, but not like this. We lost what was the Original Internet, a thing of innocence and freedom. Much of what bound it together was trust. That's gone.

    So this brings up an interesting concept. Rather than having "an internet", we may have our own mini-internets. Companies do this to some extent with intRAnets. But this idea now takes it to the next level. A completely isolated network with strict content and connectivity controls to the outside world. I get the feeling that this is our future, the best way to deal with all the problems that an international connected web of distrust that is the Internat brings: Set up a local web of trust and establish relations with other webs of trust. This is the model adopted by nations in how they interact with each other (in terms of laws, immigration, trade, etc.). Neighborhoods and tribes operate like this as well. And the interesting part of it in this new domain, is that physical proximity and characteristics are even less relevant than before, opening up many more opportunities for multiple memberships and diversification.

    Sorry this is a bit rambling (-1 Rambling), but just wanted to float the idea out there that this or something like it may solve a lot of our problems (as well as introducing its own, of course).
    • by Chuu (307073)
      Think back to around 1994/95... It wasn't unusual to have an unfirewalled computer with a static IP address sitting on the net. We used to ping-flood people we didn't like while playing Quake. Maybe even throw a WinNuke their way if they got nasty. Whatever, it was the Wild West, no laws, no morality, everything was free and fun. Looking back on that behavior, it was pretty immature and irresponsible, but we were just playing with the new technology.

      Ok, intersting premise . . .

      Fast forward almost

  • Intellegent mesh networks are the next step in large scale interconnectivity. Its just a matter figuring out how to sell them.
  • A couple of months ago, Linux Journal covered the Bass Station [bass-station.net], a converted monster ghetto blaster that is used to stream audio and video to anyone within range of its WiFi antenna. The owners use it as a kind of a mobile Internet block party.

    I found it inspiring. They used the Mini-ITX [mini-itx.com] motherboards, and with the upcoming Nano-ITX [infoworld.com] boards, even smaller and more portable mobile access points can be constructed.

  • Especially in close quarters like an apartment or dorm. There are certainly advantages to your own private network, free from the prying eyes of administrators. Create your own music sharing network with no worries...until someone in the chain connects to the net. But even then it's a very fluid user environment. Very hard to track. Be funny to see RIAA out on a war drive trying to find music sharing networks.

    There would be other possibilities for small regional networks as well. Clever idea.

  • What other uses? Gaming... DUH! ;)

    ~D
  • Mobile WAN.

    Mobile audio streaming

    Warez anywhere.

    Simple, anything you can do with a WAN that dosen't deal with connting to the internet. Transfering files, connecting computers together. I dont forsee any use to the public with this, but I dont really see the difference between this, and having a preconfigured wireless router in your backpack.
  • Suicide by cancer?

    Satisfaction garanteed, if you're not showing signs of cancer within 6 months, we'll send you a free pocket amp and antenna hat to be sure your prostate and brain are getting a healthy dose of EM radiation!
  • by burns210 (572621) <maburns@gmail.com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:59PM (#8683945) Homepage Journal
    Get a linux distro tuned just for this ad-hoc network... setup a nice cache server and ipv6 and let it accept everyone... all the users woul get in vacinity would supply their own address(ipv6, again) and would setup a wireless p2p ad-hoc network... the more users using a cache system the more % of the internet it holds...
  • Instead of having Wifi access point perhaps in future each device will act as a repeater for a few other clients and a gnutella style network will be formed.

    Everyone would be walking around with a Wifi access point then. Extend the technology to mobile phones and you could solve some coverage problems.
  • You know, I can do exactly what this guy is doing, only I don't need a backpack full of batteries and equipment. All I need is a sign that reads:

    "Ad-Hoc Wireless Network here. Use SSID "TempNet" and 192.168.1.x addressing"

    For bonus points maybe even one of the Ad-Hoc users could be running DHCP or something to keep people from all picking 192.168.1.69 etc.

    Seriously, I'm under the impression that wireless devices can already talk to each other, and that Windows at least already has a button to check to
  • Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by El (94934) on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:05PM (#8684013)
    How is this a win over, say, just running 802.11b in Adhoc mode? Whenever I want to do large file transfers between 2 computers, it is faster to switch both to Adhoc, do the transfer, and switch them back then to simply do the transfer through the Access Point... who is it that thinks having this backpack receive and retransmit every packet is a GOOD thing for round trip time?
  • Hacker potential (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MacEnvy (549188) <jbocinski@b[ ]nski.com ['oci' in gap]> on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:05PM (#8684016) Journal
    If I had one of these, I'd use some sort of uplink (cell, but faster would be nice). That way you could walk around and sniff the traffic of unsuspecting victims.

    You see, WinXP joins the network with the best signal. If I'm sitting next to someone, they'll bump onto my open network and may not even know it, leaving me free to sniff away.

    Whaddya think? Is there potential for this sort of trick?
  • by Gruneun (261463) on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:06PM (#8684028)
    if you can run faster than your opponent.
  • by mkro (644055) on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:13PM (#8684124)
    When I was a kid, the ice cream truck came by our house once a week. The bell could be heard ringing from a distance, and the kids ran out to stand ready to hail it to a stop.
    Now, 20 years later - introducing... the WAREZ TRUCK - driving from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, wifi-serving the latest games from Razor, Fairlight and Deviance, the latest movies from groups as Centropy and Brutus, and the latest hi-quality porn from NovaVCD, Swe6rus and others (Parental advisory - reproductive organs in motions).
  • This is essentially a Trojan Horse. Take it down to your local Starbucks, half the customers will connect to it instead of the expected Access Point... and then feed it their username and password. Voila! You now have free access!
  • challenging conventional assumptions about WiFi and suggesting new architectures for digital networks that are based on physical proximity rather than solely connectivity

    Uhm, isn't that what ad hoc wireless [kiyon.com] 802.11 networks are for?

    I mean, seriously...carrying an AP around in your backpack? Why bother when the 802.11 standard, and most hardware, provides both infrastructure (with AP) and ad hoc (without AP) modes?

  • It could be instrumental for some kind of flash LAN/WAN - Imagine a big public park there several hundreds of people gavering with their backpack WiFi servers... For what porpose ? Weekend internet ? P2P ? gaming ? online bazaar ? Actually it could be usefull for bazaar - each vendor have WiFi server with his merchandise, and buyer could browse it with their WiFi enabled cell phones/PDA, find a vendor and pay by cash...
  • ... legislation to require persons wearing portable base stations to also wear 220lb "DMR belts", to discourage the footloose masses from broadcasting their iTunes libraries wherever they go, via their own portable subnet LANs.

    I think it's called the Harrison Bergeron bill.
  • One application for this could be local, anonymous filesharing. Think of a waste node, but instead of going through an ISP (bad idea if you want to stay private) you log onto a wifi lan and connect to a group of filesharers. It wouldn't be very cool in rural neighborhoods, but in urban areas you could probably find quite a few people. I'm not really sure the backpack is neccessary, but grassroots networks could be the last place for the p2p users.

    -
  • by philg (8939) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:01PM (#8685237)
    My first thought -- "pointless art-for-art's-sake" crap.

    I read the website for a while. My second thought -- "oh, go hijack people at Starbuck's onto your Internet. Cute, immature crap."

    I download the docs and read them, and buried deep within, it starts talking about geographically-based ad-hoc networks. Finally, a point. And quite a good one, actually.

    The Internet's great and all, and it's not like you can't talk to a guy that's 20 feet away from you with it -- provided you know his (absolute) IP or hostname or something.

    What this guy's talking about is being able to address people/things based on a relative measure -- geographical proximity to each other and this backpack. There are community tools on it to facilitate the coalescence of "instant communities" that can exchange very ephemeral information (broadcast a message saying you have beer to everyone in your section of the office) or use local resources ("print on the nearest printer").

    It's not nearly as cool and avant-garde as this guy wants to think it is. It's not even new. (Jini, anyone?) He's applied more of a people angle on it, creating "communities" instead of just ad-hoc networks, and focusing on ways to make people interact with each other on the network -- or at least with the hoodlum who set it up. :)

    It is a cool idea, though, IMO. Sometimes you want to talk to Jane or everyone in #slashdot, wherever she is or they are. And sometimes you want to talk to whoever (or whatever -- see the printer example) is nearby and (maybe) meets some other criteria.

    It won't be remotely practical until the whole darn thing sits in the iPaq frontend, however.
  • by BillX (307153) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:43PM (#8686674) Homepage
    Post link to a wireless backpack Web server strapped to some dude's back on Slashdot:
    $FREE

    Watch /.ed backpack dude run around screaming and trying futilely to put himself out:
    $PRICELESS

(1) Never draw what you can copy. (2) Never copy what you can trace. (3) Never trace what you can cut out and paste down.

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