"Matt Westervelt and three of his friends had tinkering on their
minds when they started building their own high-speed wireless
network in June. Climbing on the roofs of their Seattle homes,
building antennas and trying to make them work with Ethernet
protocols sounded like fun. Plus, if the whole shebang actually
worked, they figured they'd be able to access their home computer
files from the local cafe, play Net-based games while sitting on
each other's couches and stream video onto their personal data
assistants -- all at speeds of up to 11 megabits per second, far
faster than what cellphone operators or other wireless providers
"Westervelt's crew isn't the only group of geeks who have caught
the wireless Ethernet infrastructure bug, who are, as the Wall
Street Journal put it, "taking indoor wireless technology outside."
Community-based wireless efforts like Guerrilla.net of Cambridge,
Mass., Consume.net of London and SFLan in San Francisco are
steadily gathering grass-roots power. In Seattle, Westervelt's
one-time summer hobby now has a name (Seattle Wireless), a Web site
and over 30 participants...."
"Call it "the free-network movement" -- a
bubbled-up-from-the-underground effort to spread high-bandwidth
wireless connectivity everywhere. In their attempt to create a
user-generated alternative to a top-down industry -- in this case,
telecom -- initiatives like Seattle Wireless and Guerrilla.net look
a lot like the original Napster, the Web itself or the world of
free software. The free-software movement, in fact, is a working
model for many wireless Ethernet pioneers. Many people involved --
including über-geek Brewster Kahle, founder of SFLan -- view
it as free software's newfound twin: open-source development of
operational antennas rather than operating systems."
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