Happy New Year everyone, to celebrate the New Year we have started a new initiative that we have been testing for the past few months; turning Lochgelly into a public Wi-Fi hot spot.

Several of our volunteers with Wi-Fi routers, have been opening up their routers, to allow others within proximity to connect and use their Internet connection to try and create public hot spots for the Internet. We have been testing out the free access now for over 3 months.

Currently we provide free Internet access in North Street, Main Street and South Street and do not mind people connecting to our routers to gain free Internet Access. We are also looking to expand the areas covered and hope others will join the initiative.

The accounts that have been opened up has only been possible through our volunteers that subscribe to unlimited packages through their ISPs (Internet Service Provider).

We made the decision to do this to allow others without a connection but with Wi-Fi capabilities on their computers the opportunity to connect to the Internet to gain access to the wealth of information available online. Not only can this help people look for new work, it helps with educational research, or accessing more services, as organisations are slowly making their services accessible online.

Security

When connecting to a router via Wi-Fi, your data is not 100% secure, regardless if you have took all security precautions. Any data transmitted can still be captured, routers can still be hacked, IP addresses can be spoofed, and it is best practice to connect to your router via an Ethernet cable.

For those accessing our free wireless networks, it is best practice not to transmit any personally identifiable information, or private details such as passwords and financial details. This is true for connecting to any wireless network (including your own).

While conducting tests on providing free Internet Access, we discovered that in Lochgelly there is many unsecured connections available. Some of these connections are unsecured because the owners have allowed others to connect to their router, while others, it is because the owners are unaware that they have an unsecured connection.

To make your Wi-Fi more secure consult the documentation that was provided by your ISP or with the documentation that came with your router.

If you have an unsecured router, and do not intend to allow others to access your router for Internet access, it is advised that you take precautions to secure your router. We have created a forum topic to help people secure their routers

Allow others Internet Access

If you do wish to allow others to access your Wi-Fi, why not rename your router, to broadcast that you are providing access. For instance you can find our free public hotspots by searching for networks named “Free Net: www.lochgelly.org.uk”.

If you are opening up your connection but are worried about what material is being accessed through your connection, you can always set up OpenDNS to block access to certain websites and this provides an extra step in stopping your connection from being abused.

If you are allowing others to access your network, why not post us the location (just the street name) in the comments below.

To learn more about OpenDNS visit: http://www.opendns.com/

To get help and support in securing your Router, visit our forum thread: Wi-Fi Security

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2 Comments

  1. Tam

    January 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I live in North Street but do not have any wifi what do i need to do to connect?

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      January 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      You need to be living near the West Primary school, the router has a range of between 110 feet to 300 feet (depending on weather, and interference from other wifi routers in the area)

      If you reckon you are in range, you can buy USB network Adapter (I recommend Belkin) or nip into Computer and Components, along from the Library and see what WiFi usb adapters they have.

      Reply

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