Quick poll on 'free internet' perception

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Roy Davis

Feb 20, 2008, 5:01:12 PM2/20/08
to ftnao...@googlegroups.com
Just interested in what everyones perceptions of free internet is.

i.e. do you think of it as full unlimited all ports access, or http traffic only, or TCP only, or limited port ranges (say blocking p2p), or what ever.

My personal opinion is of limited port ranges for general use, that is http/ftp/pop/https etc... and that if you need specialist ranges then you should get your own account and control settings, security, and usage.

Anyone else got any views?


Feb 20, 2008, 5:11:18 PM2/20/08
to TheFreeNet - Aotearoa
Free is as in all is free. I think the key idea still is FreeTheNet
(TheFreeNet does have a somewhat different connotation) i.e. breaking
the lock of ISPs and WiFi companies. Thereby enabling people -ALL
PEOPLE- to be more connected and creative.

The reality looks a little different though. We don't have flat-rate
broadband here so we can't offer the free-for-all (yet). For the time
being we should therefore limit what you can do on TFN and how much of
it. But I think it should be understood that this is only due to the
limitations in NZ.

Cheers Oliver

P.S. Does anyone know of a lobby group for real flat-rate broad band?
I think every day that goes by without this is a day that NZ is
sliding to the tail end of the OECD. I want to get active about it but
I haven't found any groups out there so far. So if anyone knows please
let me know!

Donald Gordon

Feb 20, 2008, 5:29:44 PM2/20/08
to ftnao...@googlegroups.com

If you're going to cap (and maybe rate-limit) people, I can't see what
restricting their access further will accomplish. Maybe blocking P2P
(bittorrent/etc) is a good idea, but I wouldn't want to go any further.
Otherwise you'll spend forever unblocking ports because you didn't allow
some wierd IM protocol by mistake.

A network that doesn't allow at least

* POP3, IMAP, SMTP on port 587, the SSL versions of these
* IM
* VoIP
* VPNs

is not going to be especially useful to me. And it's pretty hard to
block some of those protocols by port number anyway. SIP/RTP based VoIP
(aka standards compliant) basically needs all UDP ports to be open. And
you can't block P2P by port numbers these days anyway, you need to do L7
classification. Blocking skype is next to impossible.

But if you're planning to *manually* block people who use over 1GB, then
you're stuck slowing people down so they can't use too much before you
notice. Manually blocking like that sounds like a *really* bad idea to
me. Adding automatic blocking to a closed system like Meraki is
probably between difficult and impossible. I've written code to do
usage-based blocking before for the VUW computer club's wireless network
(first student-accessible wifi network in a wellington tertiary
institution, as far as I know) -- it's much easier when you're basing
your network on an open system like we did.


Mike P

Feb 20, 2008, 6:03:39 PM2/20/08
to ftnao...@googlegroups.com
Meraki dashboard on the standard edition provides a real-time report identifying MAC address, volume transmitted (MB up/down), location.
Its simple to identify MAC addresses that exceed 1Gb per month, via the report.  It is 1 click to block a MAC address.  It offers no control over ports or protocols. 
TheFreeNet has identified about 150 unique MAC addresses.  About 50% have only exchange a few packets, so the users did not connect.
So TheFreeNet has about 75 users who have transferred 7Gb in about 1 month.  3 users have been banned for exceeding 1Gb.  The other 4 Gb is distributed among 72 users.    It is worth noting that the 3 banned users are still regularly attempting to access TheFreeNet.  They generate about 1Mb of traffic a day, which is the login screen graphic being repeatedly displayed, saying they are banned.  I suspect they are using BitTorrent or similar and just dont really notice what network they are connecting to.
Current policy is to ban 1Gb+ users 1 month first time, 2 months second time, and indefinitetely on the third time.
It looks like some access points are being used in an office, in which case they may exceed 1Gb.  This is something we may have to think about.  I could add MAC addresses as trusted at certain locations, but the access point manager needs to let me know.  Its a learning exercise.


Feb 21, 2008, 7:56:10 PM2/21/08
to TheFreeNet - Aotearoa
Full access. I wouldn't expect to be able to just leech torrents
indefinitely though, some speed (512k?? ) or cap limitation (a gig or
so) would be fine.

The general public have no idea what ports are, so they wouldn't
understand why their skype or whatever doesn't work. They'll probably
wonder what they did wrong, or blame the network.... They also tend to
have a pretty vague idea how data is measured, so if you tell them
"you have a 1 gig cap" they won't have a clue how much that is, until
they get cut off.

So I expect our perceptions of 'free internet' and what compromises we
can expect are bound to be quite different to John Smith's


On Feb 21, 11:01 am, "Roy Davis" <rjda...@dvs.net.nz> wrote:

Hamish MacEwan

Feb 22, 2008, 12:26:41 AM2/22/08
to ftnao...@googlegroups.com
On Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 10:01 AM, Roy Davis <rjd...@dvs.net.nz> wrote:

> Just interested in what everyones perceptions of free internet is.

Two views, free is worth what you pay for it, free is as in speech.

> Anyone else got any views?

Defining a set of ports ignores the applications/services/purposes
that flows over them.

80 is sufficient for all that is admired and despised. Volume as a
measure is probably apt.

Myself, I think a free Internet will be like air, you speak, they
hear, no one counts your words, and in P2P conversation transmitters
and receivers make their own decisions about language and content.



Mar 4, 2008, 4:55:22 PM3/4/08
to TheFreeNet - Aotearoa
At a bare minimum I'd be happy with just HTTP/S access for free, but
would be nice to be able to send receive emails which includes IMAP,
POP3, SMTP, as well as the secure versions of those protocols. But as
others have mentioned, we don't yet have unlimited broadband plans we
can share, so if MAC addresses are going to be limited to 1GB per
month anyway, then I don't think it matters what prototcols are used
to reach that 1GB limit.


On Feb 21, 11:01 am, "Roy Davis" <rjda...@dvs.net.nz> wrote:


Mar 4, 2008, 4:59:28 PM3/4/08
to TheFreeNet - Aotearoa
>It is 1 click to block a MAC address.

Mike, what is the end-user experience for getting blocked? Do they
receive a message somehow that they have been blocked, or are they
just unable to connect? Do they have any recourse if they have been

Mike P

Mar 5, 2008, 2:25:27 AM3/5/08
to ftnao...@googlegroups.com
You can set a custom message for blocked users, I use:
"TheFreeNet has blocked you for excessive use for 1 month. Read our Terms of Service."

They cannot reconnect, until they are unblocked.  The only recourse would be to email thefre...@gmail.com and explain why they should be unblocked.


Peter McCaffrey

Mar 5, 2008, 6:17:18 PM3/5/08
to ftnao...@googlegroups.com
Perhaps it would be good to add that the 'excessive use' was 1GB and to also explain what thefreenet is and how it's designed mainly for general browsing.
I can imagine many people getting banned during their first month, just because they don't know anything about thefreenet, and then not bothering to come back at all because they got blocked.
I'd assume that all this info is in the ToS', but we all know that no-one reads them! ;)

Stuart Maxwell

Mar 5, 2008, 6:30:25 PM3/5/08
to TheFreeNet - Aotearoa
Thanks Mike. My concern is for the unsuspecting users that
accidentally download a bunch of Windows Updates, or some new Podcasts
while iTunes is playing music, or Antivirus updates, etc... I know
I've accidentally churned through a whole bunch of my Cafenet usage
before through software updates being downloaded in the background.
But I still think that 1GB should be ample for most users.


On Mar 5, 8:25 pm, "Mike P" <zoomzoom.m...@gmail.com> wrote:
> You can set a custom message for blocked users, I use:
> "TheFreeNet has blocked you for excessive use for 1 month. Read our Terms of
> Service."
> They cannot reconnect, until they are unblocked. The only recourse would be
> to email thefreene...@gmail.com and explain why they should be unblocked.
> ~mike

Mike P

Mar 5, 2008, 7:05:07 PM3/5/08
to ftnao...@googlegroups.com
You get about 60 characters to display a message, so I'm open to suggestions as to what can go in the message.


Peter McCaffrey

Mar 5, 2008, 7:15:05 PM3/5/08
to ftnao...@googlegroups.com
ah, in that case... well done on the current message! :P
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