Tag Archives: Lightspeed

Home Comcast Xfinity Routers As Public WiFi Hotspots

ISP giant Comcast has quietly implemented a plan to turn its home Wifi routers into public hotspots. On the surface, it seems like a good idea, as it would allow their customers to get online easily over a much larger area, no longer confined to the environs of coffee shops and airports. But Comcast has embarked on this sweeping effort without offering users anything in return for participating. They did not ask permission or even notify them. Beyond that, the corporation has not made the public hotspot easy to opt out of, or provided any clear, technically useful information on the service, such as addressing security risks or how it might affect the paying customer’s own bandwidth. Perhaps they don’t know, or have other reasons for not doing so – such as many people opting out. Alongside with the home user’s private Wifi spot, the gateways set up a parallel public one for other Comcast customers, called “xfinitywifi“. These customers will be able to log in for free using a smartphone, tablet, or other enabled device. And once they do, they’ll be automatically logged into all others also called “xfinitywifi”. What could go wrong? Potentially, quite a lot, apparently. Comcast apparently began rolling out the service this summer, first testing it in Houston, but it is in effect in other major urban markets by now. So far there’s been little outcry, possibly because Comcast has been very quiet about it. … Continue reading

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Stuck in the Slow Lane

Interesting new statistics from the Census Bureau concerning individual computer and Internet use in the US came out this week. Depressingly, they confirm that the Land of Enchantment is once again near the bottom. However, another study points out that the whole country, even many areas with the fastest and cheapest Internet access, likewise lags behind most of the developed world. The government has been tracking computer and Internet usage since 1997, but last year was the first time it ever surveyed households and individuals. The basic results were recently published in a report, Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2013 (PDF format). And they are not too far off from what one might expect: computer and Internet usage (whether desktop, laptop, or smartphone) tends to be “highest among the young, Whites or Asians, the affluent, and the highly educated.” Which means that New Mexico, like other poor states with large minorities across the South, gets the short end of the stick. Whereas nationally 88.4% have computers  and 78.1% high speed access, New Mexico (80.9% computers, 68.1% Internet) is barely above bottom-most Mississippi (80% and 62.3%). But even in states like California and Colorado, the picture is wildly uneven. There are urban areas with high numbers of computers (Boulder, CO topping the list at 96.9% with computers) and access (Colorado Springs with 88.5% barely beaten by Corvallis, OR at 89%). Yet these, and many other Western states, have … Continue reading

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The Solution to DSL Slowdowns

High-speed broadband access is not a luxury anymore, but a necessity. Old-fashioned dial-up is really barely able to cope with email much less modern webpages. They simply have too much going on for dial-up to handle, with all their widgets and scripts, the interactive features, animated graphics and videos. Continue reading

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