As we mentioned earlier, the Linksys E3000 is actually a rebadged WRT610N. We’re taking a second look at it now because it remains Cisco’s best consumer router; as such, we owe it to our readers to compare it to the best of what the rest of the industry has to offer.
We updated the router with the latest firmware for this review and downloaded fresh drivers for the Linksys AE1000 dual-band USB client adapter, so we were quite surprised to see the router perform more poorly than it did when we tested it several months ago. Cisco Connect remains the easiest tool we’ve ever used to establish a connection to a router, but Cisco’s “fix” for a problem we described in our initial review has rendered the router a whole lot less appealing.
It is becoming very difficult to keep track of Google's growing multinational miseries following the infamous Wi-Fi debacle. Google's legal woes in the States seem to mirror its problems elsewhere, with the company facing eight lawsuits in different U.S. states and the Congress mulling “a hearing, at minimum.”
TrendNet might pigeonhole its TEW-647GA Wireless N Gaming Adapter as a gaming-console peripheral, but we think it’s much more useful than that. The tiny device is capable of linking any hard-wired Ethernet device—be it an Xbox, a PC, or a Blu-ray player—to an 802.11b/g/n wireless network for a street price less than $50.
Granted, Microsoft’s own Xbox 360 Wireless N Networking Adapter is smaller still (and draws its power from the Xbox 360’s USB port), but that device is nearly twice as expensive and it doesn’t support anything other than the Xbox 360. The TEW-647GA is a lot prettier to look at, too, with its dual antennas stealthily concealed inside its black plastic housing.
Citing a Sprint-Nextel spokesman, The Wall Street Journal reports that laptop users who find themselves frequently roaming will soon have to contend with a strict data cap. Smartphone users will still be able to consume the same amount of bandwidth as before, but those with mobile broadband cards or USB modems are going to see some changes, the spokesman said.
Road warriors lugging around their laptops already face a 5GB monthly cap when within the network and 300MB while roaming, but starting July 11, excessive data roaming could result in suspended accounts until the next billing cycle. That is, unless a customer antes up for a data plan that includes extra charges for off-network data consumption.
Sprint isn't alone in looking to limit data usage. AT&T recently changed its unlimited data plan into a tiered pricing model with defined limits, and T-Mobile also is limiting excessive use on its network. That leaves Verizon as the sole major U.S. carrier without an altered data policy, though company execs said they're open to tiered pricing based on usage, WSJ reports.
Coffee chain Starbucks is partnering with Yahoo to roll out free Wi-Fi to all its locations starting on July 1. The current Wi-Fi setup offers access free access to customers who have a registered Starbucks card, or are AT&T subscribers. Non-AT&T customers that register are only able to get 2 hours of free access. AT&T customers must go through a multitude of steps to gain access to the free connection, but there is no time limit. If you don't fall into one of those categories, the cost is $3.99 for two hours of access. It's not the most appealing deal considering many businesses already offer free Wi-Fi.
Starbucks described the process of accessing the new Wi-Fi as "one click". We hope that means users won't have to register to use the service. Customers that use the new Starbucks network will see targeted content from various media partners including Yahoo and AOL. But you'll also get access to some WSJ, New York Times, Zagat, and USA Today free of charge. Users will also be offered a free iTunes download of the week. We think that's a reasonable tradeoff for free Wi-Fi where it was previously a paid service.
A few years ago in Finland, a case of white collar crime was perpetrated. This in and of itself is not unusual, but the resulting legislation was. It turns out a bank employee used an open Wi-Fi access point to electronically transfer some money that wasn't his. So, clearly the best way to make sure people don't steal is to outlaw open Wi-Fi. That's just what Finland did. But now they're looking back with the benefit of hindsight and realizing they might have overreacted a little bit.
The Finnish Justice Ministry is planning to officially decriminalize unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots. Let's be clear though, this is not an invitation for people to leave the wireless networks unprotected. Individuals should probably protect their networks, unless they really feel like sharing with the neighborhood. This change will be great for businesses that had no choice but to lock down their Wi-Fi networks, causing inconvenience for customers.
It's nice to see a European nation being realistic about wireless networks. Germany recently instituted rules similar to the Finnish ones. We just don't quite see the argument. Do you think everyone should be legally required to lock down their Wi-Fi?
It believes that the similar nature of claims is a solid ground for such consolidation: "All of the complaints in the Google Wi-Fi Cases assert claims under the federal Wiretap Act. Some cases involve other, similar claims, including state law claims subject to preemption arguments under federal law. All of the complaints make very similar factual allegations, and thus any necessary discovery will be of common facts.”
Computer forensics firm Stroz Friedberg, which conducted the audit, found that the snooping software called gslite only collected data from unencrypted networks while intentionally disregarding encrypted networks. : "While running in memory, gslite permanently drops the bodies of all data traffic transmitted over encrypted wireless networks. The gslite program does write to a hard drive the bodies of wireless data packets from unencrypted networks."
Not only does PI believe that there is ample evidence of criminal intent, it also feels that a “systematic failure of management and of duty of care” and not the code's alleged author is to be blamed. “This is equivalent to placing a hard tap and a digital recorder onto a phone wire without consent or authorisation,” PI said in a statement.
On the other hand, Google again tried to downplay the entire matter: "As we have said before, this was a mistake. The report today confirms that Google did indeed collect and store payload data from unencrypted wi-fi networks, but not from networks that were encrypted. We are continuing to work with the relevant authorities to respond to their questions and concerns.”
Amtrak began providing free Wi-Fi internet access aboard all 20 of its Acela Express trains in March. Launched on a trial basis, AmtrakConnect, as the wireless internet service is called, emerged as a huge success at the end of the three-month trial run, prompting the passenger railroad company to establish the service as a permanent fixture on Acela trains.
Acela trains seem to be better suited to onboard Wi-Fi compared to other Amtrek trains. This is down to the fact that they service an area with plenty of cell phone towers and are the only trains in Amtrek's fleet to feature a fixed number of passenger cars.
Last week, Google enraged German authorities by disregarding a deadline for submitting unauthorized Wi-Fi data it had amassed while collecting images for its Street View service. The company excused itself by saying that there were possible legal ramifications of such a handover that it needed to review, forcing the Hamburg data protection supervisor Johannes Caspar to hint at a criminal investigation against it.
“We screwed up. Let’s be very clear about that,” Mr Schmidt told the Financial Times. “If you are honest about your mistakes it is the best defence for it not happening again.” According to Schmidt, disciplinary action is currently underway against the software engineer who wrote the meddlesome code.