This is the first in a series of mini-tutorials that aim at getting you aquainted with Whisher and the functionality we offer through our client. Today, we will see how easy it is to share your WiFi network with others, and we will answer a few frequently asked questions at the end.
Whisher allows you to share your WiFi without having to purchase new hardware or even reconfigure your existing equipment. Before we start, one common question: Why should I share my WiFi? Well, you don’t have to, but we love to share because we make the world better. It’s fine to have broadband at home, but it’s even better if you enjoy free access elsewhere. If we all give a little, we can gain a lot.
The process is extremely simple:
- Connect to your protected Wi-Fi using Whisher. If you have an open hotspot, the process is the same, but it will be tagged (more on this later).
- Click on the “Register as my access point” link, which is right below the signal name (SSID) in the main window of Whisher.
- Fill in the form: nickname and welcome message, which is what visitors will see when passing by your Wi-Fi, and the location where your Wi-Fi is, so that others can find it.
Your Wi-Fi is now shared!
Can you decide with whom and when to share? Sure! In the second tab of Whisher, you have 3 buttons on the top toolbar: Public, Buddies Only and Private. You can switch between them at any time to control access to your Wi-Fi. Remember that private mode won’t allow anyone to access your network except you and your VIP users.
VIP users you say? Even if you enable private mode, those closest to you (family members for example) should still be able to get connected. You just have to right-click on the local users and add them to the VIP list.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Is it really that simple? How does it work?
A. Yes it is! What Whisher does in the background is distribute the credentials to your WiFi in a secure manner, to those who you have authorized. If you are sharing in buddies-only mode, only those in your buddy list will get the key to your WiFi, and even then, in an secure format.
Q. Do I have to leave my PC running all the time connected to my WiFi?
A. Not at all. All the information and configuration regarding how you share your WiFi is handled by the Whisher backend systems. Once you have registered your WiFi and chosen a sharing mode, you can turn off your laptop and go on holiday, everyone using Whisher will follow your settings. Of course, if you want to see the action on your WiFi in real time, you need to be connected to it - we are working on a remote feature that will allow you to see what is going on in your WiFi from anywhere!
Q. Is WiFi sharing safe?
A. Is crossing the road safe? Just kidding! Sharing one’s WiFi is a matter of choice, some people would never share anything (not even an icecream!), while others would leave their house door open so people could come in for a coffee at will. This is why at Whisher we give you choice - share with everyone, with just your trusted buddies, or with your closest relatives. Unlike other initiatives, we don’t believe in an all-or-nothing approach, so you decide. We of course always recommend running a personal firewall and antivirus, even if you are not using Whisher at all.
Q. But my ISP’s contract says sharing is “illegal”.
A. First, we have to make a clear distinction - one thing is sharing WiFi as a gesture of goodwill to others, and a completely different thing is reselling the access. Simply sharing your WiFi, and more so if it is in a controlled way, is tolerated by most ISPs, despite what their contracts say. When we talk to ISPs they admit that it would not make sense to go after their own users for simply sharing without profit. On the other hand, to resell access without an operator license (like ISPs are forced to have) is actually illegal in some countries, and not tolerated by most ISPs - the end user is becoming a mini-ISP in effect.
Q. I have an open (unencrypted) hotspot, can I still register it?
A. Yes, but you will not benefit from the control mechanisms that Whisher offers, such as the sharing modes. Since your signal is open, anyone can connect, even non-Whisher users. Right now you can tag an open WiFi, and give it a welcome message, but you do not become its owner. We are working on ways to enable open-hotspot owners to be able to register and manage them, which will make their way into future releases of Whisher.
Q. I have further questions.