From: jason::cunliffe::verizon::net at: 14-Sep-2002 10:06
Rebol seems like it may be an ideal candidate for Wi-fi [802.11b] software.
WiReD has an article about Boingo, followed by short burst of evangelism from
The topic is fascinating and the challenge of getting all the infrastructures in
sync: communications, political, business, customer, cost/access price points.
Wi-Fi will be built into everything,
says Dayton. "It's like trying to imagine
all the uses for electricity before it was invented."
Which resonates loudly an excellent biography of Nikola Tesla I have been
Anyway, lots of hardware/software bundling taking place and distributor deals
being tried out for Wi-Fi
I am especially curious about Boingo's software and REBOL's potential in this
http://80211b.weblogger.com/2001/12/22 [Saturday, December 22, 2001]
Why Software Matters
I've received a fair amount of pushback on my Boingo article from Wednesday from
readers and fellow Webloggers on how superfluous Boingo seems. Why not just do
what they're doing in software via a browser window, they ask? Why lock into a
specific proprietary software package thus creating the potential for a
This misses the mark due to what I would term a completely understandable
blurring of the lines between the Web and the Internet. The Web runs on top of
the TCP/IP stack, a layer of protocols that allows programs to break data into
pieces and send it to a known address over any kind of medium (Ethernet, Wi-Fi,
dial-up, ATM, etc.).
Boingo's software dips down below where the Web (even with Java) can go into
protocol layers below applications. By using these lower layers, Boingo is
employing standards to tie together disparate wireless network operators. The
point is: anyone can do what they're doing; they just have to do it.
My understanding is that Boingo's agreements are non-exclusive with each
carrier. Sky Dayton, Boingo's founder, said to me repeatedly that the goal of
any network should be distinct from the goal of a service provider: networks
should load traffic; service providers should acquire customers and give them
the most ubiquitous footprint.
Further, Boingo's software doesn't require any proprietary software installed at
the service provider. In fact, that's part of its charm. The service provider
continues using its existing authentication system; Boingo interfaces with that
through its magic innards which can talk to many, many different kinds of login
systems as well as its own. Boingo's software is a universal translator.
Boingo is not a software platform locking users in. In fact, it's a
standards-based tool that relies on only standard protocols to ease the process
for its users. Other companies will be able to come along, using different or
identical protocols and still transit TCP/IP data on the Internet. They'll have
to negotiate their own contracts with wireless infrastructure providers, but
that will be the case in any vision of the future of Wi-Fi.
As a quick rundown, Boingo uses the following standards: NDIS 5.1 (talking to
cards to sniff the network), RADIUS and related authentication protocols, VPN
(not sure if they're using PPTP or IPSec, but I would bet on IPSec, the better
of the two), authenticated SMTP (to login to send outbound mail whether using
their software or not), and TCP/IP.