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Wireless Networking The Internet Hardware

Verizon FiOS/DSL Customers Get Free Wi-Fi Across US 168

Posted by kdawson
from the windows-only dept.
Glenn Fleishman lets us know that Verizon is finally offering nationwide Wi-Fi access to its high-speed Internet customers, long after Cablevision's similar service went live. While Cablevision is building out an in-house network of hotspots, Verizon is relying on a deal with Boingo Wireless — a strategy with both strengths and drawbacks, as Wi-Fi Net News points out. Neither Verizon's nor Boingo's announcement reveals the mechanics of how existing Verizon DSL and FiOS customers will get access, but an AP report spells it out: "To use a hotspot, the customer must install software that works only on computers with Windows Vista or XP installed. Phones, iPods, and Macintosh computers with Wi-Fi can't access the hotspots."
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Verizon FiOS/DSL Customers Get Free Wi-Fi Across US

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  • by NaCh0 (6124) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:55PM (#28844999)

    Marketing Douche: Say, how about we offer mobile internet access that won't work with mobile devices.

    PHB: Great idea!!

    • I thought a "Marketing Douche" was what one used after lying to one's customers for the umpteenth time, to get rid of that "not-so-fresh" feeling.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      If only I knew what WiFi was. Is it anything like SciFi? Does it come with my AMD K5 laptop, or do I need a separate device? Does it work anywhere, or only in certain locations like coffee shops?

      Aside-

      Other "free" things we privileged members of Verizon get include access to espn360.com and disneyconnection.com. Try to contain your excitement.

      • I think they actually mean "WyFy", don't they?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by illumin8 (148082)

      This seems like a really bone-headed move to me. I'm writing this post from an iPhone at a Cablevision wifi ap right now. Cablevision has consistently improved their service recently to compete with Fios. I just subscribe to basic cable modem, which is your standard $50 a month. Recently they increased the bandwidth to 20 Meg down, 2 Meg up. I really appreciate having good upstream bandwidth. For $10 more a month, if you really want, they'll bump you up to something like 30/5.

      I get free wifi all over

      • Yeah, but Comcast is another matter. If all you want is internet, that's fine - they charge you $50 a month just like everyone else, and the speeds are fairly competitive (I saw 2MB/s downloads just last week). But the moment you want something else, you're going to pay through the roof for it!

        Take my example: I signed-up for Comcast's digital plus package plus Showtime plus internet five years ago for $110/month (this was the price after incentives ended). In the time since, I've not added any services

  • Sadly . . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grahamsaa (1287732) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:56PM (#28845003)
    Neither this wireless service, nor FiOS, are available to users in many markets. Where I live we have a telephone company and cable company duopoly over broadband service. A little more competition would be nice. . .
    • Same here. Only the telephone half of that duopoly is Verizon, and I still can't get FiOS. Hows abouts they work on 'making their product available' before they waste money on 'making the product popular'. If you can't buy it, you won't buy it, no matter how great the deal is.

    • I mean.... Verizon's customers don't have very much choice in the matter either. We can get our phones/internets/TV from the cable company, or from Verizon.

      The bizarre difference is that, even though Verizon aren't exactly the cuddliest company around, they certainly know a thing or two about running a network. I received one of the first FiOS installations on the east coast, and the service has been absolutely fantastic since day-one.

      (On the other hand, I have nothing nice to say about Verizon Wireless,

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        I've been happy with service on FiOS, VZW phones and data. I was never satisfied with Verizon DSL though. I agree though, VZW can be absolute bastards to deal with. At least they're better than Sprint/Nextel who purposely conspire to assrape you. I had Sprint a LONG time ago. They overbilled me $300/mo and were bastards, refusing to fix it. I left them for Nextel when they were their own company. Things were fine until Sprint bought them. Then Nextel started overbilling me $300/mo and

    • Try moving to Minneapolis [usiwireless.com]

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:56PM (#28845007) Journal

    "To use a hotspot, the customer must install software that works only on computers with Windows Vista or XP installed. ..."

    How long until THAT is reverse-engineered? (And/or will it run under WINE? Is it a control app or something that goes into the protocol stack?)

    • Being pretty ignorant when it comes to things like this, I have to ask what is probably an ignorant question: it was intentional that they made it work only with vista or XP? I thought it was just that they were too lazy to add support for anything else.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Chyeld (713439)

        Given the rich variety provided on this list of supported devices [boingo.com] from Boingo, I would have to say that it must have been intentional douchebaggery on Verizon's part. (i.e. if no one uses the 'free' access, then Verizon doesn't have to pay for it)

      • by jc42 (318812)

        I have to ask what is probably an ignorant question: it was intentional that they made it work only with vista or XP? I thought it was just that they were too lazy to add support for anything else.

        It pretty much has to be intentional. There's no shortage of off-the-shelf wifi access points that implement standard Internet protocols, and work with anything. You can walk into any Radio Shack or Best Buy outlet and walk out with one. If this isn't true for their access points, they had to have bypassed all th

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I assume it is their auth protocol which is special. My university's encrypted wireless network only works on Windows and Mac (they have an unencrypted one, too, so it's not really an issue). I sent an e-mail to the IT help desk complaining and got a reply that the person responding to my e-mail was also a Linux user annoyed at the setup.
    • I'm of two minds about this.. Sure, it will probably be reverse engineered in a matter of weeks so no big deal. On the other hand, why should it be up to the community to do this? I think it's better overall that not a single iPhone, Mac, Linux or other device works on their network. That way they will ship a proper client and support it. If it's reverse engineered they can easily say, "We don't support that," and still get the benefit of subscriptions.

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        I was with you until I discovered that I would have to go to a McDonald's or a Starbucks in order to get service in my area. I don't see that happening so I guess I just don't care now. And yes, I'm a Verizon DSL customer.

      • by Haeleth (414428)

        I think it's better overall that not a single iPhone, Mac, Linux or other device works on their network. That way they will ship a proper client and support it.

        I admire your optimism. Unfortunately history does not support it.

        A similar example that nearly bit me recently was ebooks. There's no Mobipocket reader for Mac, iPhone, or Linux, despite years of people clamouring for one (and a total lack of any technical issues preventing it).

        Either some companies are happy with 90% and simply don't care about 1

  • it is completely useless.
  • by mustangsal (597422) on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:05PM (#28845097)
    Starting at TWO. You have to figure on at least a homepage change and a Yahoo toolbar.
  • by mustangsal (597422) on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:06PM (#28845115)
    So now I'll have the Verizon Access Manager, the Boingo tool, several VPN clients... How long until it all crashes... How stable can it be if it only runs on...
    • If the announced service, and the associated software, is anything like the homicidal obstacle course they have for what passes as Customer Service, then expect it to be the use-it-until-you-have-to-deal-with-a-human disposable technology that most mass-produced electronics have become.

      It's great until it breaks, at which point it is tossed and replaced with the newest iteration of the same technology. Exactly as planned. Only thing different this time around is that they have integrated the strategy into S

  • Qwest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3.phroggy@com> on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:23PM (#28845237) Homepage

    Qwest DSL customers have free access to AT&T wifi hotspots, including at Starbucks and McDonald's. This is for anyone using Qwest's DSL connections, regardless of their choice of ISP.

    • Qwest DSL customers have free access to AT&T wifi hotspots, including at Starbucks and McDonald's. This is for anyone using Qwest's DSL connections, regardless of their choice of ISP.

      Really? Currently I use cable my ISP gets through ComCast but they offer DSL through Qwest as well. Though I don't spend as much tyme there as I used to I could spend more tyme at Barnes and Noble which has ATT hotspots.

      Falcon

    • According to Quest tech support you can use it without windows too (you need your username name and password). Haven't tried it yet though.

  • by weston (16146) <westonsd.canncentral@org> on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:24PM (#28845241) Homepage

    This is odd, because Boingo has an OS X client for accessing their service. If Verizon is using them as the provider, why would it be locked out?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by amiga3D (567632)
      Because it's Verizon? The only nice thing I can think of to say about Verizon is they aren't AT&T. I wonder why we can't have a decent wireless provider in the US. Must they all suck. Except for AT&T who swallow.
      • Funny, I've got an ATT wireless adapter that works just fine with Ubuntu. What are you doing wrong?
    • Backroom deals with Microsoft.

      Posting from a Mac with my secondary display packed with terminal sessions into about a dozen Linux machines.
    • Maybe it isn't. Maybe two thirds of the people on this page are ranting about something that a reporter left out of the article by omission and are too lazy to verify themselves. Maybe Verizon left it out of their press release (they are prepared by PR people, after all, not techies). Stranger things have happened. This is /. after all and we are talking about humans here.
  • ...if I downgrade my broadband speed by a factor of 5-10 from cable, and downgrade my OS to one of their supported honeypots, there'll be some areas where I can get free WiFi. Yay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by virtual_mps (62997)

      ...if I downgrade my broadband speed by a factor of 5-10 from cable

      You have a 300Mbps cable connection? What market is that in?

      • You have a 30Mbps DSL connection? What market is that in?

        In the ten years since I first got DSL, I think Verizon may have improved their physical plant enough to offer me 1.5Mbps down (instead of the 768Kbps down I had at the time, with 16Kbps CIR). RoadRunner came in at 3Mbps, I believe, and they're up to 12Mbps burst and 7Mbps sustained now.

        Oh, and verizon may be planning to roll out FIOS somewhere in my state sometime in the next few years, but if they are, they aren't telling anyone.

        • Hmmm, why is DSL lagging so far behind in the US? Over here in Europe, ADSL2+ at 16000/1024 (sustained if the server has the upstream...) kbps is pretty much standard, and there's hardly any places that get cable as an alternative. It seems like DSL has become the economy-option over stateside... how come?

          • Don't know for sure. Several possibilities:

            • People here are more spread out, and longer runs yield lower peak rates.
            • Having deployed an earlier DSL rev (1? 0?), and faced with low expectations, telcos are less eager to roll out higher-speed versions.
            • The regulatory climate here provides little incentive for improvement.
            • Our telcos are instruments of Satan, and Europe is a more secular environment.
  • by linuxguy (98493) on Monday July 27, 2009 @08:00PM (#28845559) Homepage

    AT&T does the same for their broadband customers. Free wifi at McDonald's, Starbucks and many other places. The biggest difference is that you do not need any specially dumb software to connect.

    Verizon on the other hand require particularly dumb software that works only on limited set of OSes and according to this: http://forums.verizon.com/t5/Verizon-at-Home-Blog/Verizon-Brings-Free-Wi-Fi-to-Millions-of-Broadband-Customers/ba-p/59727;jsessionid=51BB9F7245B9EA45C39F3F2F9A5DB41D#A76 [verizon.com]

    sits in the background and continuously scans for a Verizon wifi hotspot. Who comes up with these brain-dead ideas to slow down customers' computers?

    BTW, I am a Verizon FIOS customer and I tried to place a comment on their blog entry, linked above. I could not do that, even after I logged in using my Verizon credentials. They kept asking me to login. But I am already logged in, you dumbasses. Sometimes I wonder how is it that Verizon can stay in business. These people are utterly clueless. And dont get me started on their "customer portal". A bunch of monkey can put together a better user interface than that. I sometimes have to use it to pay bills/update credit card on file etc. And I cringe at the thought of ever having to use it.

    • Sometimes I wonder how is it that Verizon can stay in business.

      Because people like you will continue to use their service even though you have many complaints.

      go figure. A company with a client base that refuses to switch providers can stay in business :)

      • by linuxguy (98493)

        I am a customer of their FIOS service. 50Mbps down/20Mbps up. For about $190/month with static IPs and no blocked ports. Nobody and I mean nobody can come close to matching this in Oregon. I hate Verizon with a passion. But there has to be another viable option in my area, for me to switch to. Unfortunately there is none. So I grudgingly hand over my money every month to these monkeys.

        The day a viable alternative becomes available is the day I say good riddance to Verizon.

    • by twmcneil (942300)
      Hey! You're being pretty mean to the monkeys there aren't you?
  • TFA: "It's available for Mac OS X and Windows."

  • Level heads (Score:2, Insightful)

    by intx13 (808988)
    Level heads, people, level heads. This is a report from the AP; neither Verizon nor Boingo have commented on the mechanics of the service.

    Verizon has little incentive to refuse access to portable devices or Macs or anybody else for that matter. They're probably not into Windows evangelism nor do they really benefit from offering a "free" service that nobody can use (roll out costs will trump usage costs for the near term and if the service isn't used it won't attract more customers anyway). Finally,
    • Re:Level heads (Score:4, Informative)

      by Svartalf (2997) on Monday July 27, 2009 @08:27PM (#28845807) Homepage

      Oh, no... This is truly a Verizon gem.

      Here's the Link [verizon.com]
      And here's the VerizonWiFi link for the service... :-)

      Verizon Wi-Fi is not available for PDAs, phones, desktop PCs or Macs.

      The software's only available for Windows and only intended for "laptops" right at the moment- they're not using Boingo's usual software, it's something special for Verizon.

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        Arrgh... Boggled the link to the service webpage...

        Here it is, in unbroken form [verizon.com]

        • by intx13 (808988)
          I stand corrected!

          Verizon Wi-Fi is not available for PDAs, phones, desktop PCs or Macs.

          Not available for desktop PCs? What exactly is the difference between a laptop and a desktop running Windows, except for form factor?

          This is an incredibly stupid decision for Verizon to make, and for Boingo to go along with. Bad business sense.

          • Boingo isn't a knight in shining armor here, but they support Macs for their own stuff. It really is a case of complete idiocy on Verizon's part, likely couple with a healthy infusion of partnership dollars from Microsoft.
          • What exactly is the difference between a laptop and a desktop running Windows, except for form factor?

            Well, the presence of a Wi-Fi interface for one.
            • What exactly is the difference between a laptop and a desktop running Windows, except for form factor? Well, the presence of a Wi-Fi interface for one.

              Yeah, because nobody makes PCI wireless cards...

              Not supporting any operating systems besides Windows makes them evil. Claiming to not support "desktop PC's" just makes them retarded.

              • by Svartalf (2997)

                Or USB dongle Wireless devices, for that matter.

                What they're wanting people to not do is cheat a bit and have one DSL/FiOS connection and then have somebody elsewhere (Other family members) DX an AP with a Cantenna or other high-gain directional on a home machine or router. Not that this will stop people from futzing with the setup anyhow...

              • Yeah, because nobody makes PCI wireless cards...

                Sure it can be added, but your standard desktop PC generally does not have wireless capability out of the box.

                Not supporting any operating systems besides Windows makes them evil. Claiming to not support "desktop PC's" just makes them retarded.

                I don't know about "evil". Lazy perhaps. Ignorant and selfish, maybe. But evil? Not supporting an operating system is not the same thing as not able to function with that operating system. I bought a laser p
  • Obviously this is a stupid way to do it (sounds like they may just have an authenticated vpn run on the client), but what is the best way to implement this without opening up your clients to MITM attacks (both from fake hotspots and malicious hotspot owners)?

    A secured web gateway/proxy, seams like a solution that would work anywhere and would be pretty simple stuff for an ISP to setup. (explain https at the login page to prevent fake hotspots)
    enterprise WPA2 solutions may be even better (less overhead) and

  • We are FIOS customers. Mobile devices have gotten good enough that we prefer to leave the laptops at home in favor of a pair of wifi-enabled smartphones and an iPod Touch. This "service" is therefore useless to us.

    It occurs to me that there is, therefore, still a market for hotspots at mom-n-pop establishments, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. As long as the big monolithic companies keep shooting themselves in the foot like this, we'll continue to have choices, even though coverage may be somewhat

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Yeah, I spent last week fighting spotty WiFi at a conference in a hotel with no wired Internet. I really have to wonder how much longer anybody will tolerate reconfiguring their network access every time they move over by 50 yards. I'm tempted to speculate the days of WiFi are numbered, although I use it and like it at home.
      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Anything can be done badly. I've noticed that establishments who hadn't already wired for internet are trying to make do with wireless, with varying results. The difference seems to be whether they've hired professionals to do a site survey and put in the proper number of repeaters, or just bought a consumer wireless router and put it in the office. Some places do better than others, but they all work better than a service you can't use at all.

        My Blackberry tends to collect networks as I travel. Some

  • Boingo isn't exclusively a Windows offering. Here's a link to Boingo's announcement of a Linux client. [boingo.com]

    I just got FiOS installed last week, and let me tell you, it's just the most incredible thing out there. Fiber to the home, plenty of bandwidth, and the best digital television picture I've ever seen. It makes AT&T's U-Verse product look like a pathetic joke by comparison. Free wireless on top of all of that ... well that's just more delicious icing on the cake.
    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Yeah, but you'll have to use Windows to actually USE the Verizon offering. Boingo's providing it, but only on a rebranded deal that Verizon's providing the access software with.

      On the rest, I'd have to concur. I was one of the early adopters and I've been tickled with it ever since I got it set up.

  • I have AT&T internet at home and I get free access to their WiFi spots, most significantly at Starbucks and McDonald's.

  • by beej (82035) on Monday July 27, 2009 @10:54PM (#28846987) Homepage Journal

    Their users don't need no steenkin' free wifi! They're all waiting for Apple to roll out $100/month wifi with the rounded corners!

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      Well, you know why Apple smart phone using consumers instantly switched to iPhone? I mean the wise ones, not the ones going for style...

      It was the first ever smart phone perfectly worked and integrated with OS X and Windows, equal features. You still have to boot to Windows to update your Nokia smart phone firmware. In case you use OS X only, you end up using someone else's PC which you know you will be blamed for every kind of windows junk problem in the future. Hopefully Qt 4 powered Ovi Suite (for Mac) w

      • by beej (82035)

        What if Apple rolls out a branded wireless service which will have excellent support for OS X, Windows and even Linux for an extra price? Will you blame the people buying it?

        Just if the only difference is the rounded corners. :) And hopefully they don't go with AT&T, if you know what I'm saying.

  • I don't know all the details, but subscribers of just about any AT&T high-speed internet service (DSL) can enjoy free wi-fi access at a number of their hotspots.

    This includes every Starbucks location -- which is basically every other block.

    Maybe someone who has the service can comment on it's openness.

  • My neighbor's wireless is great!
  • I see a need for a standardized protocol over Wi-Fi that allows clients to exchange billing and authentication information.

    One implementation could be an open wifi that is sandboxed and can only access the wifiaccess.info domain which the router will serve, and net access is attained with PPPoE.

    This would allow standardized billing and access control, and individual Wi-Fi operators (you and me) could monetize their access and handle (weak) blacklisting. Also, all of these ATT, Tmobile, Starbucks pay-for-wif

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