I found myself stopped beside a Greyhound bus in DC rush hour traffic on the way to work today. The bus had a Wi-Fi icon painted on it.  I had a Wi-Fi capable device with me in the car so I gave it a test. Sure enough, there was an open wireless network available. I could pick it up strong and clear more than two car lengths back. The network’s SSID was WAAV, which when Googled, turns up a website of a company that makes wireless devices that open two 3G cellular connections and provide Wi-Fi on the move. Over this dual-cellular connection, passengers (and the surrounding cars) could get up to 14.4Mbps downlink and 3.6Mbps uplink (GSM HSPA/HSDPA), plenty of bandwidth to support a bus full of web surfers, black hats or botnets.

You may, or may not have heard of wardriving, an old technique of driving around looking for open and unsecured wireless access points. This turns the concept around where the open wireless access point drives by you.  I can imagine someone needing wireless access from an IP address on the move that can’t easilly be traced. Slide in behind a Greyhound bus and you’ve got connectivity, then turn away and the bus continues. If the bus can be tracked by IP address at all, the authorities are going to track the bus, not you in the car behind them.

These roaming busses with open Wi-Fi networks allow free and nearly untraceable internet access, if you have a vehicle and a bus schedule, you can do anything on the Internet you wish without being tracked down to a geographic location.

4 Responses to Wi-Fi Greyhound

  • bob says:

    The greyhound bus is an EVDO connection to 2 carriers. But it would be a mistake to add these connections together. When the passengers connect, it is either the one connection OR the other, not both. WAAV Load balances the connection so you will get routed to one or the other for typical browser connections. You could get the blended bandwidth, but only if you are using a peer 2 peer connection, which slices the transfer, or if you use WAAv’s file download software client, but not for most browser pages.

    And so, the reason why so many people hate the bus connection is the operating bandwidth is really sub 1Mbps, and it gets sliced up to everyone else on the bus, and it still disconnects ALOT!

    • InetDaemon says:

      I’m not really surprised that ‘actual results vary’ from the marketing on WAAV’s web site. Oversubscription is a design failure in any network architecture and it appears that the Greyhound buses are no different than many ISP’s. There’s still a lot of issues to be worked out by the IEEE and the wireless carriers. The current technologies and protocols were all designed for stationary networks. The assumption is that the distance between the client workstation and the router with the default gateway would be relatively static and the association would be fixed.. this is no longer the case on long-haul Greyhound trips, which is probably where at least some of the dropped connection problems occur, some is most likely loss of signal in dead zones, the rest is simple oversubscription and network congestion.

  • bob says:

    I think you are exaggerating your numbers by a factor of 10!

    • InetDaemon says:

      The Technology page of the WAAV website lists the protocols supported. If the unit is an X2 and it is using GSM/HSPA the download can reach a peak of 7.2 Mbps. WAAV teams two of these connections together to provide up to 14.4 Mbps. Average operating bandwidth is between 1.4 Mbps and 2.4Mbps, which is still faster than a lot of cable and DSL modems.

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