FON, the world’s largest Wifi community, continue their ethos of give and take with the release of the La Fonera 2 router. The self-confessed “hippie-love-in” style products work as such – a user purchases the router and once connected to the internet, gives away a small part of their bandwidth via a second public facing connection. This network can be accessed for free by other FON owners. In return for this show of generosity the user can then access other FON hotspots anywhere in the world.
This unique approach to internet service provision has obviously struck a chord with the online community at large as there now over 800,000 “Foneros” – as their members are known - worldwide. Launched in 2006, FON quickly penetrated the market after giving away many of their first run routers and count Google and Skype as investors.
To date, there are over 300,000 FON hotspots around the world. These “FON Spots” can be located anywhere in the world using a “FON Maps” site that details every location. Non-members can gain a connection by purchasing an access pass.
This is the third router release for FON and as well as the traditional features of the previous two, the La Fonera 2 has a few added extras up its sleeve. Users now have the ability to connect the router to a hard drive and can leave it running without the need for a computer – the built in Bit Torrent client therefore enabling more convenient and emission friendly downloads. A USB port opens up options such as Network Attached Storage, and the router can also utilise a USB 3G dongle for sharing a Wifi cellular connection.
Slated for a late April European release, the La Fonera 2 router will be available in the US in May, expected to retail for around USD$70. More information can be found at the FON website.