Becker, Jan U., Michel Clement and Ute Schädel

Shared WiFi-communities - user generated infrastructure am Beispiel von FON

Wirtschaftsinformatik, 50 (6): 488-482, (2008).

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1365/s11576-008-0091-4

Abstract: Shared WiFi-Communities emerge when users share their private Wireless Fidelity with others and in return get free internet access via community members’ internet connection. Supply of wireless capacity and demand for WLAN usually are coordinated by a central authority therewith users can find specific hosts within the community. Initial players that conduct commercial WiFi-Communities established their position in the market. The international market leader with 170,000 hotspots worldwide is FON. The commercial success of shared WiFi-communities (e.g. FON) depends on the adoption of a special router or modifications of the existing WLAN-infrastructure. More importantly it is essential that users permanently offer broadband capacity to the community. Only then net effects can durably generate enhanced usage benefits. A survey of 268 German FON users reveals that the community shows a high level of cohesion. Users barely vary from the default setting concerning shared bandwidth of the router. Additionally most interviewees offer their WLAN 24 hours a day. Despite the possibility of earning money with the wireless capacity most users do not offer bandwidth with a purely economic ambition. Although the market potential of shared WiFi communities appears tremendous legal obstructions and technical restraints exacerbate penetration.

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