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Jobs wanted to make shared Wi-Fi standard, report says

updated 11:01 am EDT, Tue August 5, 2014

Strategy would've detoured around iPhone's lack of 3G

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs once wanted to make shared Wi-Fi commonplace in homes and small businesses, says Re/Code's Walt Mossberg. The impetus is said to have been the first-generation iPhone, which lacked 3G. Although people could get around slow 2G speeds by connecting to Wi-Fi, most hotspots were and are password-protected, and Jobs wanted people to be able to leap seamlessly from network to network, much in the same way people transition between celltowers without noticing.

Mossberg explains that in a conversation he had, Jobs said he wanted to partner with other companies on the project in a kind of consortium. The goal was to have Wi-Fi routers shipping with a built-in option for a sandboxed guest network, and find some way of encouraging people to share their bandwidth.

Guest networks are now relatively standard options on routers. It's unclear if that can be linked to Jobs; regardless, widespread shared Wi-Fi is still relatively rare in the US, existing mainly in a handful of networks run by ISPs and/or city governments.

by MacNN Staff





  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    Jobs wanted all people to be able to have free access to the Internet, something that will never happen as long as companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control the backbone. I would be happy to open my guest network on Comcast if they would bump me to full speed, something that only requires a flip of a switch in their network, as long as they reduce their prices to something reasonable. Of course, this would never happen because Comcast is beholden to their greedy investors. I live in an area where cell towers are sparse, forcing me to go upstairs to get better cell reception. I wouldn't mind if AT&T gave me a micro-cell but with iOS 8, I might simply be able to route all my home cell calls over ethernet making cell coverage in my home less important but making shared WiFi even more important.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Not an option in Germany, where the owner of an internet connection shares responsibility for everything that goes through his connection. IOW, if somebody trades child porn through your wifi, you're going to have to prove that you undertook reasonable measures to secure it against such abuse.

  1. mac_in_tosh

    Junior Member

    Joined: 12-14-11

    "Jobs wanted all people to be able to have free access to the Internet".....but apparently not low-cost hardware with which to do the accessing. LOL

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    @mac_in_tosh: No, you are mistaking low-cost for high-quality.

  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Let Jobs (in the past tense) share his own Internet connection. There's no way I'm going to let anyone and everyone use my Internet connection. I lock them out for the same reason I lock my doors. I don't trust what they might do.

  1. MarkTime

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-05-14

    With all due respect, I think a lot of people's thinking is broken when it comes free internet access.

    Remember land line telephones? We didn't hold AT&T responsible for what people said on the phone. AT&T was just a service provider, the person making 'threats' was responsible for their own behavior.

    The first thing people want to talk about is child porn. It's not about child porn at all - its about the government having the ability to track everything you say.

    Child porn is a crime, that occurs after the fact - after the tremendous damage is already done to the exploited child, you must combat that crime by catching the predators before they act out. And we know they commit these serious crimes because of their psychology and sexual deviances, not because of free internet.

    I'm just stating the obvious - people who bring up child porn are simply trying to shut down the discussion and avoid the truth, which is they love massive and intrusive government, and there are people like that in this world.

    Free internet is a fantastic, and good idea, and if people want to discuss real ways to fight child porn - then let them say something that shows even the slightest bit of knowledge on the subject - because it should be eliminated, but we don't have free wi-fi today, and it certainly was not eliminated.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    This just in:

    iOS 8.0.1 to fix issues introduced in iOS 8.0 related to occasional drops in Wi-Fi connectivity on some iPhones.

    Yeah... Apple still has ever-persisting Wi-Fi bugs in their OSs to work out first.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Um, MarkTime, there are many more illegal ways to hijack somebody's internet connection. I just used child porn as an example that everyone can relate to immediately.

    Apologies if it hit a nerve.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Your example seemed fine to me. He just joined today.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Thanks Mark for adding a little sanity to the discussion. Where I live we have two free Wi-Fi networks available throughout the downtown core: a city-owned one, and one provided by one of the cable companies for the use of its subscribers. Neither one is responsible for what people do on those networks; the individual is responsible.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Legal situations differ across countries.

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