Those who cannot get on a subsidized $9.95 plan, may not be able to afford an internet connection. But, there is one other thing you can think about doing to offset the monthly service charge. That’s sharing (and charging for) your internet connection with anyone else you know that lives close enough to receive your wireless internet signal. If your monthly charge is $30, and you share it with the apartment next door, that’s only $15 for you. If you share with two neighbors, that’s just $10 a month; and if you want, charge the two $15 each and get yours for free.
Of course, you’ll need wireless internet to do this. If you don’t have a wireless router set up in your home, instead just plugging your computer into the wall jack for access, you can buy a wireless router for about fifty dollars. Plug that in and the signal extends wirelessly in all directions, including up and down.
You can safely share your connection with your roommates and neighbors, provided that you trust them and that you have a fairly strong Wi-Fi router. Wi-Fi sharing is safe and usually not against your internet provider’s terms and conditions. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind when sharing any broadband Internet connection.
Make Sure That Your Connection Can Handle Extra Traffic
Before you offer to share your home’s Wi-Fi connection with a friend or neighbor, make sure that you’ve got enough bandwidth to handle the extra traffic. Contact your ISP and find out your household’s bandwidth limitations or use an online service to test your internet speed.
Most broadband connections with DSL or cable modems can easily handle one or two simultaneous users, but if you’re already experiencing slow Internet speeds due to heavy usage, you might need to upgrade your plan in order to handle the extra draw. Your usage habits also make a big difference: If you or your neighbors regularly use the Internet for high-definition video viewing, for instance, you’ll likely need a large amount of bandwidth. But you won’t need a very fast plan to handle basic email and Internet browsing.
Laying Down Ground Rules And Contacting Your Internet Service Provider
Communication with those on your wireless netowrk is important. Talk to the person who will share the connection to learn about their usage habits: do they regularly download or upload large files, do they stream movies?. You might first offer to share Wi-Fi temporarily to see whether you can feasibly share the connection without losing speed.
Decide how much each person will pay before you start sharing the Wi-Fi. Make sure that no one will use the connection for software piracy or for other illegal purposes–if they do, and the account is in your name, you could very well have your account closed, and you may be legally liable for any copyright-related or other illegal actions that take place on your Wi-Fi network.
Before giving someone else your Wi-Fi router’s password, check with your ISP and make sure that you can legally share with others who do not reside at your address. Of course, you don’t have to ask if you’re sharing your connection with a roommate or family member since all Internet users will access the connection from the same address.
You Wi-Fi wireless router will likely have no problem sending its signal through wood-framed walls, floors and ceiling of multi-family housing. But most likely uou’ll need a high-quality wireless router to send a Wi-Fi signal to a home next door. Remember that the strength of your Wi-Fi signal is unrelated to the strength of your Internet connection speed.
Keep Your Connection Secure
While sharing Wi-Fi with friends and family members can save you money, you should always keep your home wireless network secure by enabling your router’s password protection feature, and make sure that your own computer is password protected. Even if you are not sharing with friends or family, it is still particularly important if you live in a well-populated area, where others may sign on to your network to take advantage of free bandwidth. But you also want to make sure that those you allow on the network do not have the ability to snoop around on your computer through the wireless connection.
Choose an alphanumeric password that uses a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters. Make sure that all of the people sharing your Wi-Fi connection know to never share the password without your permission.
Finally, remember that your ISP will hold the contract holder responsible for connection fees and maintenance. Only share your connection with people you trust and take the proper precautions to protect yourself. Overall, sharing Wi-Fi is safe as long as you use some common sense.