Virtual Lanlords and (the Lack of) Free WiFi

Virtual Lanlords and (the Lack of) Free WiFi
Matthias Weber
  • 7 july 2008

Joanne Lee from the Singapore based The Straits Times comes up with an interesting term that complements some of the experiences Team PSFK encountered during some recent travel (- and we’re thinking we’re not the only ones).

Joanne has coined the term “Virtual Lanlords” to touch upon the issue of limited access to free wifi and the decision whether or not to share it.

Joanne writes:

There aren’t very many unsecured Wi-Fi networks out there. For all the talk of the Internet having revolutionised the world, Wi-Fi still has us all trapped in a feudal system where wireless surfers are peasants at the mercy of LAN owners.

The past week in Europe was a nightmare: When my phone or laptop was able to detect Wi-Fi networks at my hotels, it cost a small fortune to surf. A day’s subscription cost me $41S in London and 22 euros ($47S) in Dusseldorf. Outside the hotels, private Wi-Fi networks – with or without passwords – simply did not exist.

As for Germany, where there were occasional free wifi hotspots available a couple of years ago, it seems almost everyone has locked-up and password-protected their access today. Mass computer magazines such as Computer Bild have fueled the fear of data-theft and published easy tutorials on how to secure your home or business wifi.

There is hope, though: initiatives such as Fon, an easy to install and safe to share wifi router that comes with a community membership allowing access to other Foneras wifi, could be a solution. We wonder if wifi should be treated like most other things – you need to be willing to give in order to get something in return. …Are you sharing your wifi?

Share The Wifi Or It’s Back To Pigeons


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