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Managed WiFi Solutions for MDU / MTU, Hotel, Assisted Living, & Restaurants

Spot On Networks Turns On Wireless Network For Residents In Block E of Queensbridge Houses

Spot On Networks turns on Queensbridge Connected WiFi in Block E at Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, NY in partnership with the New York City Housing Authority

For Immediate Release

New Haven, CT February 8, 2017

Spot On Networks (“SON”) has turned on Queensbridge Connected, the community wide WiFi network that is being deployed throughout Queensbridge Houses in partnership with the New York City Housing Authority. The Queensbridge Connected Network is backed by Spot On’s patented UserSafe® technology which guards users against hacking, spoofing and identity theft.  The first phase of the Queensbridge Connected WiFi Network was turned on in mid-December in Block F.  Since the network was turned on, Block F sees over 2,300 unique client devices per week and is passing over 5.2 terabytes of data per week.

Once completed, the Queensbridge Connected WiFi Network will be the largest affordable housing, community-wide WiFi network in the United States with high speed WiFi access being available for all residents across 26 clusters of 95 buildings in two adjacent complexes.  The Spot On Networks Team is currently in the process of building out and testing the remaining blocks.

SON has opened an on-site customer care center for residents and support at Queensbridge Houses, 10-35 41st. Ave. Long Island City, NY.  In addition to SON’s 24/7 Customer Support, residents have the option of receiving in-person support at Queensbridge Houses.  SON is currently employing both full-time and part-time Queensbridge residents as part of their staff and has committed to creating more jobs and hiring from within the Queensbridge community.  Employment opportunities for Queensbridge residents include positions in marketing, management and networking.

Dick Sherwin, Wireless Hall of Fame inductee and CEO of Spot On Networks said, “We are extremely pleased with the level of service that we are providing to Queensbridge residents.  The positive feedback we have received from residents and the surrounding community has been overwhelming.”, he went on to say, “We are thrilled to be the WiFi provider for Queensbridge Houses and are committed to providing an extraordinary service to Queensbridge residents as well as opportunities to those looking for employment.”

The Queensbridge Connected WiFi Network offers speeds up to 25 Mbps, unlimited data usage, WiFi calling capability, seamless roaming and 24/7 customer support, providing Queensbridge residents connectivity and access to educational and employment resources.

 

About Queensbridge Houses

Queensbridge is the largest public housing development in North America with 3,149 units and an estimated 7,000 residents across 26 clusters of 95 buildings in two adjacent complexes. The contract is to provide wireless internet speeds of up to 25 Mbps to each household as well as network monitoring and management with a 24/7 help desk for Queensbridge residents and staff. The Queensbridge WiFi Network will include high speed wireless internet for laptops, smartphones and tablets, WiFi calling capability with Quality of Service and integration for the Internet of Things. The Queensbridge WiFi Network will allow many residents to save money on comprehensive data services while having access to WiFi calling using their smartphones, thus comporting with the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Report and Order of April 27, 2016 bridging the digital divide.

About Spot On Networks, LLC

Spot On Networks is the largest Wireless Internet Service Provider to the multifamily industry. In addition to offering its UserSafe® managed WiFi services to the multifamily, hospitality and commercial industries, Spot On Networks has a range of wireless services including CellBoost®, a cell coverage enhancement service, and WiFiPlus+®, its wireless backbone integrated with energy management, building automation and security monitoring. www.spotonnetworks.com

 

Lawsuit targets Comcast dual SSID routers

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As we have mentioned in the past, the building out of Comcast’s Xfinity WiFi network is being accomplished primarily through the activation of a second Xfinity WiFi SSID on consumer routers.  This practice has many consumers unhappy and questioning how it can be that Comcast is using its customers resources for it’s own gain: “Comcast Thinks Its Okay To Install Public WiFi In Your House”   A class action lawsuit has just been filed in California against Comcast.  Comcast never received authorization from its customer to broadcast a second public SSID from their homes and the lawsuit claims that:

“Indeed, without obtaining its customers’ authorization for this additional use of their equipment and resources, over which the customer has no control, Comcast has externalized the costs of its national Wi-Fi network onto its customers,” the court filing says. “The new wireless routers the Company issues consume vastly more electricity in order to broadcast the second, public Xfinity Wi-Fi Hotspot, which cost is born [sic] by the residential customer.” Comcast sued for creating public hotspots using private wireless routers — RT USA

For those who are unaware of the secondary Xfinity SSID – Comcast is working on building out its WiFi network, with a target of 8 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots accessible to Comcast subscribers.  These hotspots are not actually being built out by Comcast, they are being broadcast from paying subscribers home routers.  These SSIDs are being broadcast “opt-out” which means that they are broadcasting an Xfinity SSID as default in addition to the personal SSID of the Comcast subscriber.  Many consumers are not even aware that this is occurring, they simply see an Xfinity SSID when they scan for available WiFi networks and assume that it’s location is somewhere else – they don’t even realize it is being broadcast from their own home.  While consumers are technically able to “opt-out” from the secondary SSID, consumers are complaining that the opt out process is complicated, Comcast employees don’t know how to advise it and the links to opt-out are not even working.  While there are certainly questions as to the ethics of Comcast’s practices, there are also very valid concerns about the service impact on Comcast subscribers:
1. Utilizing Customer Resources For Their Own Gain: In addition using a router that the customer is paying for to build out their own network, Comcast is utilizing customer resources like electricity.  So a customer is paying a portion of their electric bill to cover Comcast’s WiFi network.

2. Service degradation: Because a router only has one bandwidth pipe going into it (bandwidth which the customer pays for based on their plan) that bandwidth is shared between the two SSIDs.  This can cause a decrease in service to the customer if a stranger logs on to the Xfinity SSID. This is something that Comcast recognizes, stating that because WiFi is a shared spectrum experience, there will be, “some impact as more devices share the network.”

3. Security: With hacking and spoofing an ever increasing threat to our personal security, of course consumers are deeply concerned about having strangers accessing WiFi on their personal router.  While Comcast, of course, is attempting to minimize the threat to security saying they utilize the same encryption as financial institutions, with companies like Home Depot, Bank of America, Chase and Target in the news for breach of personal security due to hacking – customers should be very concerned about what is Comcast is doing.

This is a big problem for Comcast subscribers in the MDU space whose secondary SSID could potentially be broadcast to very large amounts of people at any given time.  Until it become more clear as to what the legal implications of Comcast’s behavior might be, it is important that consumers be aware and know that they can contact Comcast to get this secondary SSID shut off.  Taken from the Comcast website:

How do I disable/enable the XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot feature?

We encourage all subscribers to keep this feature enabled as it allows more people to enjoy the benefits of XFINITY WiFi around the neighborhood. You will always have the ability to disable the XFINITY WiFi feature on your Wireless Gateway by calling 1-800-XFINITY1-800-XFINITY. You can also visit My Account at http://customer.comcast.com/, click on “Users & Preferences”, and then select “Manage XFINITY WiFi.”

 

LinkNYC to setup world’s largest free public WiFi

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both_link_modules.0WiFi has become an important pillar of our society, helping connect us like never before. It’s used in homes, small and large businesses, public areas such as parks and event venues as well as shopping centers. The next logical progression for WiFi is to provide service to the general public, helping those who can not afford internet access.

CityBridge is a consortium of companies in New York City joining forces to build LinkNYC, a network of WiFi pillars placed all over the city, providing access to free WiFi Calling nationwide, as well as a Gigabit access which promises to be 20 times faster than your home connection. Members of the CityBridge group include Titan, the Manhattan-based ad company that already maintains most of the city’s pay phones; Qualcomm, the telcom giant; Control Group, a design firm, and Comark, a hardware company.

“With this proposal for the fastest and largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world – accessible to and free for all New Yorkers and visitors alike – we’re taking a critical step toward a more equal, open and connected city,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Columns placed curbside will feature table size screens that will allow the public to access city information, maps, and and free nationwide calling. Easy 911 and 311 calling will also be available as well as free device charging.

Privacy concerns have been raised, but the LinkNYC promises not to sell private data to other companies. Mobile users will have to consciously opt in using an app on their device. Advertising data will be used to modify targeted ads which are projected to generate somewhere around $1 billion dollars over 12-year period. And with a 50-50 split, the City of New York stands to pocket around $500 million.

References: 

New York City is building 10,000 internet pylons for free public Wi-Fi. (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2014, “Hello, NYC? The future is calling via public Wi-Fi (editorial)”
http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/17/7235481/new-york-city-to-provide-free-gigabit-speed-public-wi-fi-for-everyone

Government mandates airlines replace cockpit displays affected by WiFi signals

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The maker of cockpit displays for Honeywell is under pressure from the goverment to replace the displays on older 777 and 737 models. Honeywell suggested to the FAA the need to replace displays due to several problems discovered during the year-long testing of on-board WiFi.

The need to replace displays comes from the wide-spread use of WiFi networks on board airlines not only by passengers, but also the crew. During the testing, screens flickered and sometimes went completely blank for up to 6 minutes.

The test problems occurred only on the ground, but highlighted the need to install WiFi-compliant screens to prevent issues mid-flight. According to Reuters screens will cost approximately $10,000, and will be replaced in about 1300 planes.

This is great news for business travelers and means that more and more airlines will be putting in WiFi networks for passengers.

FCC wags finger at Verizon’s Throttling Defense

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Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the FCC wasn’t at all impressed with the response from Verizon regarding their company policy to reduce the bandwidth of it’s heaviest data users.

“‘All the kids do it’ is something that never worked with me when I was growing up, and it didn’t work my kids,” said Wheeler in a stinging response letter sent to Verizon this month. 

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler
Marguerite Reardon/CNET

Verizon’s response stipulated that controlling bandwidth wasn’t a way to control how much data a 4G LTE customer uses, but simply network optimization practice to help alleviate network congestion. Verizon also stated that this was a common practice of all the wireless carriers, not just their own. Verizon also stated that FCC’s letter from the Chairman leads them to believe that the Mr. Wheeler wasn’t understanding Verizon’s intentions and claimed that the difference between throttling and network optimization is Network Intelligence.

Verizon’s policies lead some to believe that the communication giant is attempting to get “grandfathered” data plan user to switch to the tiered plan system.

 

References:

 
Cheng, Roger . “FCC chairman rejects Verizon’s throttling defense – CNET.”CNET. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2014. CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE

New FCC rules for wireless signal boosters

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The FCC has enacted new regulations governing the use of wireless cell phone signal boosters. The new rules are designed to reduce interference with wireless networks. Signal boosters have helped customers with signal issues, but the FCC has complained that signal boosters can cause interference with wireless networks, especially effecting emergency 911 calls.  For multi-tenant buildings and hotels the use of multiple signal boosters not in compliance can put residents, guests and building owners at risk.

Signal Booster - FCC http://wireless.fcc.gov/signal-boosters/index.htmlAccording to C|NET the new regulations dictate that anyone planning to use a signal booster must first obtain permission from wireless carriers. After receiving authorization, the device must be registered to ensure that it meets specifications and its use is made aware to all parties involved.

FCC stated that top U.S. carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, have agreed to allow customers to use most signal boosters. FCC claims that the new regulations shouldn’t have a negative impact on customers since most signal boosters on the market today fall within the FCC specifications.

Distributors and manufacturers have welcomed the new regulations stating the benefits of added safety, security and overall customer satisfaction. FCC stressed that customers will not be charged to use signal boosters.

Reference Links:

FCC FAQ’s
FCC proposes rules for cell phone signal boosters
Use and Design of Signal Boosters Report and Order

Spot On Networks CEO, Dick Sherwin, Testifies for Senate Judiciary Committee Comcast/ Time Warner Merger

  • Spot On CEO, Dick Sherwein, testifies for the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Comcast/ Time Warner Cable Merger.

    Spot On CEO, Dick Sherwein, testifies for the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Comcast/ Time Warner Cable Merger.

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Spot On CEO, Dick Sherwein, testifies for the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Comcast/ Time Warner Cable Merger.

Spot On CEO, Dick Sherwein, testifies for the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Comcast/ Time Warner Cable Merger.

Last Wednesday, Spot On Networks CEO, Dick Sherwin, testified for the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the Comcast/ Time Warner Merger.  Click here to watch a clip of Dick’s testimony on C-Span.

The three-hour-long hearing included a witness panel with executives of both Comcast and Time Warner as well as Gene Kimmelman, president, Public Knowledge; James Bosworth, chairman Back9Network; Richard Sherwin, CEO, Spot On Networks; and Christopher Yoo; University of Pennsylvania Law, Philadelphia.  Both Comcast and Time Warner executives were met with a barrage of questions from the Judiciary Committee in regards to concerns that combining two of the largest cable companies in the country would stifle both innovation and competition.

Senator Al Franken was blatantly opposed to the merger: “We’ve got the biggest cable provider and biggest Internet provider, in Comcast, buying the second-biggest cable provider and third-largest Internet provider, and I’m very worried that will create a company that’s too big,” Franken was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “They’re going to use their position to leverage higher cable prices and to dictate a lot of things that will make for fewer choices, and their service will be even worse.”

Throughout the hearing the Twittersphere was abuzz with the #ComcastTWC and the tweets keep on coming.  Read what the public saying.

In addition to higher prices for customers other concerns with the merger included: stifled innovation, lack of competition in areas of channel offerings, feature offerings and customer service, refusals to sell bandwidth to competing ISPs, the ability to block independent programmers and more.  To watch the entire hearing, click here.

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