With my new antenna, speed on the free wireless connection is up to 24 MB/s. As far as I’m concerned, that rocks.
Next step: I plan to look into the nerd-ethics of sharing Wi-Fi connections. If somebody just plugs their router in and doesn’t bother to even change the name from the default (the one I’m connecting to is still called “Linksys,” as that is the brand name of the router), is it as OK to connect to it as it would be to someone more tech-savvy who actually knows how to give their Wi-Fi router a unique name with the expressed purpose of letting others share in their bandwidth? (Our Netgear router, when running, was called The Back Room, and has password protection AND 64-bit encryption turned on).
Now I have no desire to hack into this router — to go to the Linksys router’s URL and poke around — I just want to surf the Web, but others may not be so scrupulous.
So even if you want to share your DSL or cable Internet bandwidth — and I think it’s a noble and doable thing — do yourself a favor and at least rename your router and set the password.
By the way, you can help your neighbors AND block out others by offering them free Wi-Fi: Just ask them for (or help them figure out) the MAC address of their PC. MAC doesn’t stand for Macintosh, though every Mac has a MAC, which stands for something else, but I don’t know what. Every wireless card (and every Ethernet card, for that matter) has a unique MAC address, and you can filter for them, only letting those who you approve use your connection. It’s a nice thing to do for your neighbors, if you’re the do-nice-things-for-your-neighbors type.