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FON (La Fonera+) review

Make money from your Wi-Fi connection - too good to be true?

The thinking is that users will share their connections in exchange for being able to use other FONs wherever they go

Our Verdict

Easy Wi-Fi for those who care to share


  • A worthy concept

    Easy to set up


  • FON takes a big cut

    Only likely to be of use to urban dwellers

Wi-Fi is pretty much everywhere: at least that's the theory behind FON, which aims to create the world's biggest Wi-Fi network.

The FON device, La Fonera+, is just a wireless access point that provides communal internet access through your broadband connection. The thinking is that users will share their connections in exchange for being able to use other FONs wherever they go.

Many people would be horrified by the idea of sharing their internet connection given how much wireless security is in the news. Yet the premise of this Spanish invention is to benefit FON users by creating an account that enables them to use any FON point throughout the world. As an added incentive, they can also earn cash by opening up their own connection and charging for it via PayPal.

It's an interesting idea and has been embraced widely across Europe. Now it's the UK's turn to try out FON, but does it provide real value in rip-off Britain?

Wireless revolution?

To date, around 450,000 "Foneros" are sharing their connections. BT has announced a partnership with FON to expand these networks in the UK, so expect to hear much more about them in the future.

Using the Windows network connection wizard the FON Spot is easy to set up, but it's noticeably different from the usual wireless networks. You'll notice that two networks appear to be listed: My Place, which is your own WPA-protected connection, and FON_AP, the public connection that you wish to share. The network key is located on the La Fonera+; you then register your FON account online and you're all set.

The tiny La Fonera+ is well built and has good signal strength, plus there's a useful map on the FON website to help you find local hotspots. However, unless you live in an urban centre you're unlikely to find another FON to use. And as for money-making opportunities, FON takes 50 per cent of every connection you charge for, so don't expect to give up your day job any time soon!