Spain-baed Fon has announced that its Fonera 2.0n Wi-Fi Router is now available in the U.S. market, offering improved performance along with a built-in USB hub and and reduced power requirements. Fon—which has attracted investments from the likes of Google, eBay, and British Telecom—is a little different from your average Wi-Fi router manufacturer: the idea is that folks who run a Fon Wi-Fi router also serve as a hotspot in Fon’s broader network of Wi-Fi hotspot, which may also be used by other Fon users (dubbed “foneros”); in exchange, Fon owners also get access to more than 350,000 Fon hotspots around the world, as well as partner hotspots. Users control the level of access they provide to others, and non-sharing foneros can buy passes to the Fon network.
The Fon 2.0 802.11n router runs Linux, and supports applications like BitTorent, RapidShare, and Megaupload, so users can configure downloads (or uploads) without having to keep a computer tied up through the whole process. The Fon 2.0 router also sports a USB hub so users can attach USB storage for uploading or downloading content. The Fon 2.0 router can also back up files via Wi-Fi to a USB drive, provide printer access, tap into a Web cam, or even tie into a 3G or HSDPA USB dongle. The Fonera 2.0 router also offers power savings over previous editions, consuming less than 4 Watts while downloading.
As with previous Fon routers, the Fonera 2.0 operates two Wi-Fi signals: one for private use by the owner, and another for public use so owners’ networks’ aren’t compromised by offering a Fon hotspot.
“If there is one annoying aspect of the otherwise great internet, it’s the time it takes to upload videos and pictures, or to download movies, TV series, games, and software from the internet,” said Fon CEO Martin Varsavsky, in a statement. “The Fonera 2.0n is the first WiFi router that frees up your computer from those tasks. Close your computer, continue uploading and downloading!”
Fon hasn’t posted U.S. pricing for the Fonera 2.0n Wi-Fi Router; in Europe, the unit is priced at €49.95, or about $70 USD.