Cablevision And Comcast Join TWC For Free Wi-Fi In NYC

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News Posted: Fri, Apr 16 2010 2:06 PM
There's nothing quite like free Wi-Fi, particularly when you least expect it, and it works quickly. It's sort of like stumbling upon a quarter, but typically it's far more valuable than even that. Last month, Time Warner Cable announced that they would soon be providing free Wi-Fi to New York City customers, and now it seems the offer is being expanded in the Big Apple.

Cablevision and Comcast are joining the party, now offering high-speed Internet customers the ability to roam freely across the companies' respective Wi-Fi networks at no additional charge. That's a pretty big deal for NYC consumers, who generally stay within the city day-to-day. It suddenly makes devices like the iPad entirely more usable on the go with Wi-Fi (nearly) everywhere, and the companies have stated that reception is available in Manhattan's Madison Square Park, areas of the Jersey Shore and in the Hamptons.



We can't explain how much we wish this would come to other areas. This is the ultimate Wi-Fi dream, and while we heard that many cities would be implementing city-wide Wi-Fi a few years back, few actually went through with it. Now that NYC has set the bar high, we're hoping other cities follow suit soon.
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la_guy_10 replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 5:06 PM

I could not agree more WiFi should be offered free everywhere but I look for this type of tech to stay in the big metropolitan areas. San Francisco will probably be next along with Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Boston ect. I really want to see WiMax take off as this offers a broader range. Anyhow good to see WiFi of any capacity free being rolled out. I just hope other cities adopt this as well.

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M-ManLA replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 11:44 PM

Where is WiFi in Southern California. Why can't we have some fun too?

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Inspector replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 12:12 AM

:P now to fiend these free wifi places xD. But first i got to get cable... Would be even better if they had free internet on the go instead of staying in one place for the wifi :D.

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"Would be even better if they had free internet on the go instead of staying in one place for the wifi :D."

That's actually feasible. One word: torrents. You know how torrents work, right? You download from peers who have the files you want. So, although you're downloading one set of data, the bits are being streamed from dozens of other people. Could be the same thing here: your device sees more than one hotspot and connects to all of them (using a multidirectional antenna, I guess), and when you move around, it drops some connections and adds others so that your browser requests data from nearby hotspots. Other than some necessary hardware implementations (which could be done even now), all you would need is a browser capable of handling torrent-like connections. Opera is already on its way there, since it has a built-in torrent client.

Disclaimer: With this post, I do not condone or advertise the use of torrents to download illegally, blah blah, you get the picture. And if this post goes against any HH rules, well, I would take no offense if it were removed by the admins.

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It doesn't seem like this is a city thing. If you read that article it said that there's free wifi in the Hamptons and Jersey shore. Granted the Jersey shore is next to Manhattan, but the Hamptons are not. What I'm surprised about, is why Cablevision is just starting this. They are one of the best cable companies and they would be more of a pioneer rather than a follower.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 3:05 PM

@Nethersprite:  What you're describing already exists. It's called roaming. You can configure multiple APs on a single LAN to use differing channels with the same SSID and roam transparently between them.

It's not feasible when roaming around a city using random access points though, because in that case your IP address/network would change on the fly and you'll end up with dropped sessions and broken authentication. For instance, you can't suddenly change your IP address mid-game and expect Blizzards WoW servers to not end your session and force you to re-authenticate - same with the connection to your bank. WiMax is a better solution for that scenario.

Edit:  I just thought of a potential technical solution as soon as I submitted that:  Set up a personal proxy on your home LAN, and force all of the traffic to traverse it.  A proxy client could be designed to reauthenticate transparently with your personal proxy.  Whether it would be fast enough for most apps to not drop the session is another question.

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Hopefully that is the future, ISP on the go. I do believe that it will be the Cell companies that lead this charge. It will probably leave the Cable TV companies scrambling to become a phone provider as well.

As of now, anywhere we get a cell signal we should be able to get Internet and TV signals through the same connection. It is good that we are seeing free Internet at places like Starbucks. If they can just expand that so everyone can get service anywhere for the one they are already paying for at home, then it will make for alot more happy customers!

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"What you're describing already exists. It's called roaming. You can configure multiple APs on a single LAN to use differing channels with the same SSID and roam transparently between them."

Oh...(has a duh moment). Right. Makes sense; I had been thinking it was only for cellphones, but there you go. But still, different channels. I'm talking about separate router transmissions, maybe even on the same channel? Besides, while roaming it's pretty much a given that you'll run into different SSID's.

"I just thought of a potential technical solution as soon as I submitted that: Set up a personal proxy on your home LAN, and force all of the traffic to traverse it. A proxy client could be designed to reauthenticate transparently with your personal proxy. Whether it would be fast enough for most apps to not drop the session is another question."

Another solution is a hardware solution, and would make the device in question bypass the reauthentication step. Connect a wireless router to a gateway router, which in turn connects to the computer in question. The gateway router, connecting one LAN to another, is connected solely to the wireless router on the uplink side, so there's only one IP, and the wireless router handles the roaming. Obviously not a portable solution (unless you do these things through layers of firmware), but if you substitute "wireless router" with "internet server" it should be smooth enough. Am I making some sense, or do I not even know what I'm talking about? Like I said, kind of off-topic: there's really no mobile device that has a separate wireless router AND gateway, but there's a solution nevertheless. Might be good for computers embedded in cars.

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digitaldd replied on Tue, Apr 20 2010 9:12 AM

With the partnership between Cablevision, Comcast & Time Warner Cable it makes for much more wi-fi coverage in NYC. There are still lots of gaps but it is better than the 4-5 parks and one LIRR line that Time Warner originally pimped liked they were giving away free food to the homeless.

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