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May 21, 2012


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John Von Essen

So I have some experience in large free wifi installations... I consulted for and did the redesign of the Earthlink municipal wifi network for Philadelphia. For a brief period of time between acquisitions, we made it 100% free - after we fixed all the Earthlink issues of course. We got up to around 180Mbps of throughput, and when analyzing the traffic, alot of it was youtube and itunes.

Retailers who have their hotspots overrun can easily solve these issues by simply throttling bandwidth and protocols. The hardware to do this is not that expensive. You can easily share a 10Mbps connection for many many people, if you restrict those people to basic web browsing. The problem is most retailers just put a dumb wireless router there and let it sing... No management...


Free wi-fi does not work because people abuse it. Walk around Starbucks or Panera and you can find many "working" while streaming music or watching Youtube videos. It is unfair to blame the providers for such irresponsible usage.

Classic "problem of commons"!!

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