Friday, November 28, 2008

Meraki Solar-powered outdoor nodes

Meraki is finally getting around to releasing their solar powered outdoor nodes. (A little late considering they first brought it up on their website in June 2007.) Here's an article about it from

WiFi goes green: solar-powered outdoor nodes coming soon

By Glenn Fleishman | Published: November 18, 2008 - 09:15PM CT

Mesh WiFi firm Meraki released an addition to its hardware family of routers today with a wall-plug adapter ($179). The Meraki Wall Plug, which features a hole to screw the unit to an outlet, complements the existing Indoor ($149) and Outdoor ($199) nodes. Meraki's hardware includes access to (and requires use of) a hosted back-end management console.

The Wall Plug is part of Meraki's push for apartment buildings and complexes (multiple dwelling units or MDUs, in real-estate parlance). The company said it will offer a $5,000 bundle aimed at MDUs that will cover 100 to 150 apartments or other units.

The company also said that their long-awaited Meraki Solar would ship December 4. A worldwide run on solar power equipment when oil prices spiked increased the price of the panel required for the unit. The price of the Solar model runs from $749 for a bring-your-own-panel model up to $1,499 for areas with shorter days or less light.

Company cofounder Sanjit Biswas said that Meraki also decided to change the battery type after receiving feedback from beta users, which is part of what led to the 1-year delay. In winter or monsoon season, the beta product "would run out of juice in a couple of days with no sun." Customers said that they needed guaranteed 24-hour performance, and Meraki switched from sealed lead-acid to lithium iron-phosphate for greater capacity. Biswas said this dropped the weight, too, which reduces shipping costs for the many remote areas that the Solar unit has been tested in and will likely be used.

Meraki Solar is available with different
panel options, including bring your own

Biswas said that Solar was used in a lot of places the firm didn't expect–anywhere that power wasn't available, such as parks, but also where even though an electrical outlet would be installed, there were ancillary costs.

Some customers would say, Biswas noted, "A union electrician is going to cost me a couple of thousand dollars." He said that many Meraki customers were "choosing to do Wi-Fi because it was a relatively low-impact amenity to offer," so the higher initial price of Solar was easily canceled out by lower installation and recurring costs.

Biswas said that Meraki continues to extend its market into areas it didn't predict, such as small enterprises: firms of 50 to 200 employees that cover large areas, such as doctors' offices or shopping malls, and that outsource their information technology services. "That's a surprise for us: it's not just about public access, sometimes it's just about plain Wi-Fi access, even internally," Biswas said.

The centralized management console is a plus for this segment because Meraki customers can manage accounts and operations themselves after a system is set up, or use an integrator for remote help. Biswas noted that the console and hardware now support enterprise features, including WPA2 Enterprise (802.1X plus WPA2), quality of service (for VoIP and streaming), and multiple SSIDs (for running several virtual networks with different access privileges). The system has scaled to manage thousands of devices on a single network, as well.

Meraki highlighted a customer installation in Chile, which they only found out about after the network lit up on their map showing active installations. In Lebu, a fishing village 300 km from Santiago, residents had no real Internet access, although there was both a satellite feed and an E1 (similar to a T1) leased line. A local integrator lit up the town for about $20,000 in less than a week, and the network now has over 1,000 regular users. Biswas said, "They're using all the same sites that you and I would use."

The city isn't charging for service, because it found "the collection costs would be too high," Biswas said. He noted, "We've seen this model replicated elsewhere in Latin America," where a feed is spread throughout a town, taking residents from no Internet access to low-end broadband. (Meraki allows bandwidth shaping for shared access.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

WiFi Gadgets: Sony Mylo - COM2

The Sony Mylo (My Life Online) is a pretty cool wireless device and now it's even better thanks to a second version release. Not a bad price either, its only $199 with free shipping (Price valid until January 31, 2009) at


The Wi-Fi Sony® mylo® internet device gives you what you need to stay connected. It conveniently uses wireless LAN technology so there are no monthly bills or long-term contracts. Call your friends on Skype® for free or IM them on AIM®, Google Talk™, or Yahoo!® Messenger using the back-lit slide-out keyboard and enjoy unparalleled communication in the palm of your hands. You can also browse the Web, take photos and share them on the 3.5-inch LCD touch screen. All this on a device small enough to take virtually anywhere. Sony® mylo®, the fun of a PC in your pocket. Also available in white.

Shoot Video...Now you're a star

Now you can capture video using the built in camera to capture video in MPEG4 in addition to capturing still images. There are many websites where you can upload photos and videos like Flickr™ and YouTube™ as well as social networking websites. Because our device supports uploading and downloading files mylo® Internet Device owners can post content to many of these popular content websites1.

Enhanced Web Browsing

Through its hi-res touch-screen, you can browse many popular websites. Your portable Internet experience is now closer to the internet experience on a PC. Enhanced Web Browsing combined with Adobe® Flash® Lite 3 support means you now have access to websites like YouTube™ and others. Mylo's upload and download capability allows you to use popular websites like Facebook® for posting and commenting1. Adobe® Flash® Lite support also means you can play compatible casual Flash games.

Instant Messaging. Where and when you want.

With the Sony® mylo® Internet Device you can always stay in touch. Instant Message your friends with the most popular messaging software from AOL®, Yahoo!®, Google™ and Skype®. Send and receive e-mail through AOL® Mail, Google Gmail™ and Yahoo!® Mail. And, with COM-2's new backlit keyboard you can type wherever you want to regardless of how much light is available.

mylo Widgets

A widget is a small application that is generally designed to do one simple thing but to do it really well. COM-2 comes with several pre-installed widgets that range from basic like the Google search widget and the Facebook® Notifier that tracks activity on your Facebook page to more advanced apps like the My Contacts widget that works as a consolidated buddy list for all the IM applications on the mylo. In addition to the preinstalled widgets COM-2 users will be able to download new widgets from the new COM-2 product website. And, for the first time, users will be allowed to register as a developer in order to gain access to the technical resources they will need to build their own widgets.

Built in Camera

With the built in 1.3 Megapixel camera imaging and everything you do online are at your finger tips1. Now you can capture photos, edit them on the built in photo editor and because COM-2 features upload and download capability you can post them directly to your blog or even to your Facebook page1. All on the mylo without the need for a PC.

Voice Calling with Skype®

Skype lets you enjoy free Internet phone calls to and from any Skype enabled device and PC, anywhere in the world! Or Skype-Out to any phone number for a nominal fee.

Music and Video

MP3, ATRAC, WMA (Secured and Un-Secured) and now AAC codecs. Play music you've purchased from many compatible online music stores. Multi-task: listen to music3 while you IM or surf the Web1. COM-2 also supports Windows Media DRM 10 so you can even use your mylo communicator with many popular subscription music services. The improved video player supports both MPEG4 along with the improved video quality of MPEG4 AVC.

Free Wi-Fi access at McDonald's and more 10

Sony’s mylo® COM-2 device owners receive free10 Wi-Fi access at over 10,000 Wayport Hotspot locations nationwide; including over 10,000 participating Wi-Fi enabled McDonald's® Restaurants, 70 IHOP restaurants, 600 hotels, and more.

SHOUTcast® Internet Radio

You can now enjoy many of the over 22,000 free SHOUTcast® Radio stations on your mylo® COM-2 Internet Device. Whatever your tastes may be, SHOUTcast Radio is bound to have a station for you. From music, to talk, to sports, news and more, SHOUTcast Radio offers COM-2 users selections of nearly every genre from all parts of the world1. Enjoying unlimited free radio on your COM-2 is easy through the SHOUTcast Radio widget and associated service1.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Fonera 2.0 Firmware and videos

Looks like the Fonosfera developers community have been busy working on the new firmware for La Fonera 2.0. It looks pretty sweet so far, I hope in the end everything will function as well as it looks.
"The new interface is based on the concept of a Dashboard. We wanted to remove any similarities with traditional router management consoles. They’re ugly, not stylish, difficult and not useful at all. This Dashboard is not final, but you can get the concept. There’s a summary area, which is secondary to the 2 main frames: the “Action icons” which have 3 fixed buttons (”Services” for samba, ftp etc, “Plugins” to manage your plugins and “Settings” to change the router configuration) and the icons for each plugin that is installed in the future so they are easy to access. The second frame is the devices/events frame. It will let the user know which supported devices are currently connected and configured in the Fonera 2.0. It is quite 2.0-ish…seamless autoupdates etc."


(File Browser)
Here are some video of La Fonera 2.0 (described by Fon CTO Jordi Vallejo) and a video from the Facebook Developer Garage sponsored by FON.

Martin V's Blog: "Fonera 2.0 preview"
Fon Blog: "Fonera 2.0 New Firmware"
Fonosfera Blog: "Sylvester is out!"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

15 minute free trial change along with prices

It seems like the people at FON can not make up their minds. They keep changing everything. Now (according to the wiki),

WiFi Ads, or simply 15 free minutes of Internet

Simply want to check your emails or test a FON Spot? No problem! We indroduced the 'WiFi Ads', so 'Aliens' can see that they are well come by Foneros. Thanks to this feature, 'Aliens' can watch a short advertisement and get 15 free minutes Internet. When is this useful? not always do you need Internet for a whole day, perhaps you're on holidays and you only want to fetch your emails or send one. Perhaps the signal of the FON Spots where you can connect to seem a bit weak, and you'd like to test them before you activate a day pass.
  • The WiFi Ads can be used by any Alien Fonero once every 10 days.
  • You need a browser with a Flash-Player to watch the video.
Now its 15 minutes free access once every 10 days, and they changed the prices a little. Also, they seem to be pushing people to buy more passes because of this and they made the 15 minute free trial button pretty darn small.

Link to my previous post on this...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Fon Blog on Twitter

For those who use Twitter:

(It's basically a feed from my blog, but if any posts are updated I make note of it in Twitter)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fon Failure: Unfolding News

Its been a while, but I remember when Fon first introduced It was about a year ago and according to Martin V it was his "vanity search engine" and it is "a search engine that draws from different sources but tells you about all the very recent stories that blogs and news sources have." It was a stupid idea and he finally admitted it.

Read On:

Martin V Blog: "Unfolding News"
Martin V Blog: "Unfolding News unfolded"
Martin V Blog: " and other Fon´s “toolvertorials”"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Free Access For buying La Fonera

I just noticed this at the Fon Shop. It seems Fon is giving away free access before you even get your Fonera up and running.

The La Fonera is the 1-port edition of FON’s cool WiFi routers. It is easy to install, offers data transfer rates of up to 54Mbps, and works with all your WiFi-ready devices (laptops, phones, MP3 players, etc.). The standard range is between 10-50 meters depending on the environment.

What’s even cooler, La Fonera allows you to securely share your broadband Internet service with the FON Community. In exchange, you get free access to hundreds of thousands of hotspots created by you and other FON members. With La Fonera, you can also determine how much bandwidth you want to share, personalize your Access Portal with your own videos and pictures, and even make money from others accessing your hotspot! The moment you buy your La Fonera you get 3 weeks of free access to all our FON Spots worldwide - so you don’t have to wait for it to arrive to start surfing.

Buy La Fonera and get the FON Signal Booster ‘La Fontenna’ for only $/€9.95 more (save $/€ 10!) To get the discount, add both products to the cart.