By Naomi Graychase
September 23, 2009
Those wacky European free Wi-Fi proponents at FON announced today the latest version of their La Fonera router (not free). In keeping with its populist mentality, FON’s Fonera 2.0n ($99) is built with an eye toward utilizing social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.
“As demand for Wi-Fi and use of the social Web continues to grow, FON keeps creating Wi-Fi products that give people what they really want,” said Martin Varsavsky, FON’s CEO in a press release issued today. “The Fonera 2.0n is not only a router that lets you connect to the world’s largest Wi-Fi community for free. It’s a real social gadget that frees up you and your computer from tedious waiting for uploads and downloads and even ´talks´ to you via Twitter status updates.”
The original La Fonera router ($39.95; reviewed here) was easy to set up and could split an existing WLAN into public and private segments, making sharing safe and simple.
New features in the Fonera 2.0n include the ability to upload and download files even without using a computer. While logged in to the Fonera Web interface, users can set their Fonera 2.0n to automatically upload videos or photos stored on a camera or hard drive to YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, or Facebook, or to download torrents and files directly to a USB hard drive or other USB-enabled device. Since Fonera 2.0n can perform tasks independent of a computer, users are free to shut down their systems completely–the Fonera 2.0n will continue uploading and downloading any remaining files—and then it can even be configured to Tweet a status update, when the download is complete.
Other features include the Fonera 2.0n management software, which enables users to connect and manage external hard drives and other USB devices connected to the built-in USB port. The router can be managed by accessing the Fonera Web-interface from a variety of Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including iPhones or Google Android-based smartphones phones. Printers and Webcams can be accessed, music streamed via Wi-Fi, and, says FON, 3G or HSDPA dongles can be converted toWi-Fi.
Users are also free to create applications of their own on the Fonera 2.0n’s Open Source platform.
FON’s international Wi-Fi network has, according to the company’s published numbers, now surpassed 700,000 hotspots.
For more details, visit FON’s Web site, or read these Wi-Fi Planet stories:
- Reasons to Fawn Over FON (April 2007)
- Wi-Fi Product Watch, April 2009 (April 2009)
- Review: FON La Fonera Router (June 2007)
- FON Aims for Ubiquity (October 2006)
We hope to review Fonera 2.0n this fall.
Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-Fi Planet. She doesn’t share her WLAN with anyone, but she’s glad FON’s Foneros do.