News Bits: Wi-Fi Super Router, Wireless Health Risks
Columnist Toni Kistner checks in on the Wi-Fi world and finds a super router, penalties for stealing Web connections, and Wi-Fi health hysteria.
Slupr Wi-Fi router
The Slupr Wi-Fi router aggregates bandwidth from up to six Wi-Fi networks. Photo credit and (c): Mark Hoekstra.
June 08, 2007 by Toni Kistner

Some Wi-Fi inspired odds and ends that push the boundaries of the law, science, and common sense. 

The Slurpr is a Frankenstein Wi-Fi router that aggregates the bandwidth from up to six Wi-Fi networks into one pipe. The device was developed by Mark Hoekstra at Geek Technique. Hoekstra and a partner plan to release the hardware and the software for free so you can build your own.

The Slurpr is intended to aggregate only free Wi-Fi connections, of course. But if you go this route you could find yourself like Sam Peterson—scraping gum off the sidewalks. Peterson appears to be the first U.S. citizen to be convicted of stealing Wi-Fi.

Petersen was recently fined $400 and given 40 hours of community service for accessing a Wi-Fi connection outside a coffee shop in Sparta, Mich. without paying -– a felony offense in Michigan. Full story here.

Then you have the Brits, worried that Wi-Fi routers are radiating their children’s brains—thanks to a bit of yellow journalism from the BBC newsmagazine “Panorama.” Reporters proved Wi-Fi routers (or “mini-masts” as they’re called) produce three times more radiation than cell phone towers –- levels, which, um, are 600 times below the government safety limits. View the “Panorama” segment here.

If you’re of the mind, here’s a BBC story “reporting” on the Panorama findings that includes links to reports and other chatter: 

Still, a small band of different thinkers are convinced that Wi-Fi’s microwave radiation is a health risk, including Canada’s Lakehead University president Fred Gilbert, who has banned Wi-Fi from much of the campus

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Toni Kistner - Contributing Writer
Toni Kistner is a technology writer living in Cambridge, Mass. Her main focus is networking and wireless technology.

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