Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Finally got my Fon kit for Fontrepreneur program

Finally got my Fon kit today and once again I was disappointed. Originally we were told that the Fon kit would include:

* 3 La Foneras
* 1 La Fontenna
* Extra promo stickers
* Fliers or brochures
* 50 Printed Day Pass Promo Cards
* 1 FON T-shirt

But the only thing I got was 3 La Foneras and 1 La Fontenna. The T-shirt is not big deal, I can live without it. The stickers and fliers/brochures, how am I supposed to advertise for Fon and let people know what it is. Luckily I already made my own, just need to make copies at UPS thanks to a '25 free copy coupon.' 50 Printed Day Pass Promo Cards, sorry folks you can only take advantage of a 15 minute free trial.

Now I am left with another problem. I have the kit, now what? I don't know when the program officially starts and a bunch of other stuff. Go figure, once again I am left in the dark, due to lack of communication. I, once again, have to email Fon again to find out whats going on.

heres a few pictures of the Fon kit, I hope to do a full review on the program (after completion) and the Fontenna (when I have time and a large open area to test).


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Movie of my Temporary Setup

made a quick movie of my current Fon setup a while ago (10/8/07) using a CVS one-time use multiple use camcorder
video

Monday, October 29, 2007

F.C.C. Set to End Sole Cable Deals for Apartments

A new article in The New York Times. "F.C.C. Set to End Sole Cable Deals for Apartments"

Hopefully something like this will help FON out, because some apartment buildings, like mine, are trapped by one service provider that is not FON Friendly.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/29/business/media/29cable.html?ref=media

Friday, October 26, 2007

Finally received promo code for FONtrepreneurs program and misc thoughts on Fon

Finally FON has emailed out the promo codes for the 3 La Foneras and 1 Fontenna. Not to bad considering they were aiming for an official launch data of September 23, 2007. Even though in the month and a half I have been left hanging there with a lack of communication between me and FON, I am still going to go through the program. I look at it like this, worse comes to worse the fon marketing program (FONtrepreneurs program) will be a complete bust and waste of my time. This is what I have a good feeling it is going to be like. In theory, it could work given you lived in a location that could benefit from cheap wifi, like a maybe small, family owned bed and breakfast and thats about it. The FON passes are a little on the expensive side if you plan to use the WiFi for just an hour or so, but are very reasonable if you need it for a day or even a week. The problem isn't FON, it's America that it the problem. We are the richest country in the world, and yet at the same time cheap. That is why all of these hotels, motels, restaurants, bars, and etc give free WiFi for the customer. Here it is from my point of view. If I was going out to a restaurant to meet up with friend and needed the internet. I would be more likely to go to a restaurant where I can get it for free. Adding this extra service at a restaurant will help the owners get more money, by eliminating the middle man (FON). Fon is just doing this to make money. This all does not mean I don't Fon, its a great idea, can benifit many people, and I am all for it. Fon has a ton of potential. It's poor business managment and communication with the foneros is the thing that is hurting Fon. All Fon has to do is provide the foneros with what they want/need (better products, such as a regular wireless router similar to a linksys WRT54GL) and a more secure wireless connnection. Heres what I would like to seen Fon do: go back to the Linksys WRT54GL's and only one SSID and add some type of VPN service or something similar. Fon right now provide an insecure wireless access to everyone, even though they say it is secure. toms hardware just did a very interesting article/video on this (LINK) and Fon is a good example to show the insecurity of there network. Hopefully they will understand this and fix it. All of the foneros are at risk of identity theft. [Side Note: I don't have to worry about this because my school provides us with a VPN service in order to connect to the WiFi on campus, but we can also use it to connect from our ISP at home to the campus server, but in the future I plan to set something up at my apartment (granted Fon does nothing about this issue)] Well moving on. Its just a matter of waiting until my Fon kit arrives and going from there. In the past couple of months I have been making my own brochures, flyers, handouts, website, and a survey and plan to make a one page info sheet, a couple more surveys maybe, stickers, letters to potential customers (for the program), and a t-shirt design. This is another thing that Fon lacks, advertising. I'm not doing this Fon, but for myself. More Fon access points in the area, means more spot were I can connect to. Like I said before, Fon has a lot of potential to go places, unfourtunatly they are stuck in a hole and digging themselves deeper into the earth. We will just have to wait and see what the future holds, and I'll will post an update.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

The FrancoFon Firmware and Serial Cable port for La Fonera

The features of FrancoFON firmware are the following:

  • Better firewall
  • Port forwarding wizzard
  • Reserve addresse on private network
  • Blacklist some sites for public network
  • DNS modifications
  • Antenna power tuning
  • Remote reboot
  • Dyndns management.
  • hosts file management
  • Real time display for private and public connections.
  • Display last version availlable. (in red if your are not up to date)
  • Hidden SSID on private network
  • Language management (English, French and Roman for the moment)
  • Can be upgraded from an alternative server
  • Allow @ and / caracters for some pppoe ISP, up to 64 characters
  • open/close SSH
  • open/close admin by ethernet port.
  • Possibility to ban MAC addresses on public and private network with scheduler.
  • Possibility to connect LaFonera to an existing AP to use his network instead of having an ethernet wire.

links:
http://www.francofon.fr/modules/mediawiki/index.php/FrancoFON_Firmware_EN
http://www.francofon.fr/modules/mediawiki/index.php/How_to_install
http://www.francofon.fr/modules/mediawiki/index.php/Se_connecter_%C3%A0_votre_routeur_en_SS

Serial Cable Port For La Fonera

I have received my first part in the mail to build it (even though I already have ssh enabled on one of my routers, I figured I would try this anyway) Budget for this project: $0, thats right, zip, zero, nothing.

NO FON ROUTERS WILL BE HARMED. ALL FON FUNCTIONALITY WILL REMAIN!!!

So far I got the MAX3232 (Free Samples :) ), still need a male to female DB9 serial cable, 4 - 0.1uF capacitors, and a USB cable (I'm not cutting one of my good ones) DD-WRT LINK


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

FON Marketing update and FreeWLAN

Finally, almost a month later I received an email from FON stating that I will get my promotion code to purchase the FON Kit this week. They told me they where behind due to the whole deal with BT and Neuf (BT , Neuf). I will post more once I receive the kit.

Also, two days ago I installed the FreeWLAN addons for my one La Fonera (the other one still has the stock firmware). This addon doesn't replace the Fon firmware, it enhances it. The stock firmware is very limited, so a group from Germany decided to do something about it. The FreeWLAN addons feature:
===================
FreeWLAN Addons v.0.9.0
===================

Please note that this release is for the La Fonera (not for the La Fonera+) and that this is no official FON Firmware so the usage is on your own at one's own risk.
Summary of the new features:

Revised:
  • Help system
  • Speed information
New:
  • MAC-Blocking of connected clients
  • Fonero-Status of connected guests
  • Bandwidth limiting
  • Family- & Friends-Accounts
  • Private WiFi's SSID hideable
  • Bridging Ethernetport to private WiFi
  • Hostname editable
  • Connection to the web via WLAN (Pseudo-WDS) --> QRM (Quasi Repeater Mode) with detailed settings
  • MyPlace works in QRM => three (!) WiFis
  • Static DHCP (binding IP to MAC)
  • MAC-Cloning
  • MAC-Blocking list
  • DynDNS-Client
  • Mail service
  • UAM-Allowed editable
The installation from a standard Fonera's firmware is very easy (but a detailled hack is not allowed to be published here iin this board):
  1. change DNS
  2. change public SSID
  3. connect the La Fonera to the Web and let it reboot -> now the
FreeWlan Addons 0.9.0 will be installed - it takes a little time.


heres the links for it

http://boards.fon.com/viewtopic.php?t=3687&sid=711a70d5ca2390a73151edc3dffc6573

http://trac.freewlan.info/wiki/

I haven't had time to try out all of these cool features on it, but I'll get around to it later and give updates on it. There is also something similar to FreeWLAN. It's the FrancoFon firmware. It was developed by a French group, but I unfortunately don't know to much about it. (The site is in French, and Google only translates so much of the site) LINK , ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Fontrepreneur Program

What is the FONtrepreneurs program?

When you join FON you get WiFi anywhere and a share of the revenues generated through your FON Spot. You also become a member of the largest WiFi community in the world, joining with hundreds of thousands of other Foneros in the spirit of WiFi everywhere, for everyone.

The idea behind FONtrepreneurs is to encourage Foneros to help develop the Community in new ways, by targeting high traffic areas or businesses and establishing FON Spots there. In return, FON will give a share of the revenues the Fonero who set up the FON Spot as a “thank you” for the time and effort. Everyone wins, businesses get a simple, low cost WiFi solution, the Fonero gets a bit of extra dinero and new FON Spots light up, allowing Foneros to user their WiFi in more places.

Detailed Program Description

The FONtrepreneurs program is a test project, aiming to refine a set of tools and incentives to help people who are interested in promoting the FON Community and WiFi everywhere. We hope to build this into a flexible enough program to serve anyone from FON enthusiasts to students looking to make a little cash on the side to the community organizations that want to develop neighborhood WiFi projects.

The FONtrepreneurs program is a test to determine the viability of incentives based expansion of the FON Community. What we are trying to determine is what marketing support, incentives and other support from FON will encourage people to promote FON directly in their community to owners of high value locations. This program is intended as a trail and if successful, will serve as the model for a general roll out program.

Our goal is to increase the number of FON Spots in cafes, restaurants, areas frequented by students, and any other public places where people might want Internet access; thus increasing the over all WiFi coverage of the Community. Our hope is to tap into local Fonero’s insights into the best locations for FON Spots in their neck of the woods. Be creative! It doesn’t have to be the neighborhood bar, it can be anywhere people would want WiFi. We would also like to develop a FON Kit that would make muni-WiFi and neighborhood WiFi projects like FON’s ChuecaWiFi and Malaga projects easier for local implementation.

This specific test case involves distributing a FON Kit with three La Foneras, a La Fontenna, stickers, fliers and other marketing materials available to interested Foneros at a subsidized cost. The Fonero then promotes FON to owners of high value locations and establishes the FON Spot. As an incentive to seek out high traffic locations, the Fonero will be given FON’s share of the revenue generated on the FON Spot for the duration of the three month trial.

In addition, at the end of the trial, FON will reimburse the cost of the FON Kit if the three La Foneras have been active for at least 80% of the time during the last eight weeks of the trial. The purpose of this is to determine if this sort of revenue based incentive will actually generate revenue in enough cases to become a useful tool for growing the FON Community.

Participants in this program will be encouraged to give FON as much feedback as possible and will be asked to fill in a short survey at the beginning and end of the project.

Incentives Description and Expected Incentives Payouts

Activation

  • Re-imbursement of the cost of the FON Kit if all three La Foneras are connected and remain active for the duration of the trial. (To give you time to set them up, we’ll only count the last 8 weeks of the 12 week trial period.)

Connections

  • 50% of the revenues generated through the FON Spot.

The financial incentives work as follows. Normally, the owner of a FON Spot – the Bill – gets 50% of the net revenue generated on their FON Spot, and FON gets the remaining 50%. For the duration of this trial, the participant will get FON’s portion of the revenue. This breaks down as follows:

Paid Connection Type

Revenue Generated (in $ or € as appropriate)

One Day Pass

1.07

Five Day Pass

3.91

SMS Pass

Varies by country – 0.25 to 0.60

Advertisement

0.05

One and five day passes are the most common, and a successful FON Spot in a high traffic area can generate between 5 and 30 paid connections in a month or more.

For the three month duration of the promotion, the participant will be given a weekly report of connections to their FON Spot and will be paid at the end of every month as long as they have accumulated more than €/$ 30. At the end of the promotion, they will be paid the balance of their revenue, regardless of how much they have generated. Someone who sets up three successful FON Spots can realistically expect to make between €/$ 30 and 60 or more from their FON Spots.

In addition, if all the La Foneras in a specific marketing pack are active at least 80% of the time for the last 8 weeks of the project, the participant will be refunded their initial investment in the FON Kit.

More Detail on the FON Kit

Contents include:

  • 3 La Foneras
  • 1 La Fontenna
  • Extra promo stickers
  • Fliers or brochures
  • 50 Printed Day Pass Promo Cards
  • 1 FON T-shirt

To obtain your FON Kit, FON will send you a promo code that will allow you to access the Kit in the FON Shop. The cost in the Shop will be €50 / $50, although this money will be refunded at the end of the trial if you meet the Pay Back Incentive conditions noted above.

When you order your FONtrepreneurs FON Kit, you can begin promoting FON and distributing your La Foneras immediately and you will receive all the applicable incentives. However, the formal trial period will not begin for a couple of weeks to give us time to get this started.

Reporting

As part of this trial, FON will send you two types of reports for your La Foneras. You will receive a weekly email confirming that we have detected that your La Fonera has been activated, and giving you a breakdown of passes and connections. This report will help you make sure your La Fonera is online and will be useful if you are experimenting with antenna placement.

The second report will be a monthly summary report that will have more detail on the types of paid connections you’ve generated during the month and other information. This will also include a breakdown of the money to date generated through your FON Spot.

In addition to these reports, if you need to contact FON for any additional information, tech support or other issues, a special email address has been created for the participants in this trial: fontrep@fon.com. A representative from FON Operations will be answering these emails during normal Spanish business hours.

Requirements

You must be registered as a Bill to participate in this project, and we’ll be using the payment system in place for Bills to pay incentives to participants. If you are currently registered as a Linus, please change your status to Bill. Remember that Bills now have full roaming rights, so you will lose no privileges when becoming a Bill.

When you have opted in by contacting us via email, FON will request your address details and send you a contract to sign. We will also include an addressed stamped envelope for your convenience to send the contract back to us. We have included a copy of the contact for you to review below. If you prefer to print and send us a copy yourself, please indicate this in the email and we will not send you a contract.

When we receive your signed documents, we will send you an email with the access code you will need for ordering your FON Kit and to begin participating in this trial.