Wireless Nomad is a non-profit cooperative based in Toronto, Canada providing subscriber-owned home and business internet along with free Wi-Fi wireless Internet access to Toronto residents. Free Wi-Fi web access is available at each of the 100+ nodes, making it one of the largest free Wi-Fi networks in the country. It was founded by Steve Wilton and Damien Fox in January 2005.
Instead of using Bell Sympatico's or Rogers Cable's high-speed Internet access services to provide service to their wireless access points, they are their own Internet Service Provider (ISP) under Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) rules that compel large providers like Rogers and Bell to resell their cable and DSL circuits to smaller ISPs at a regulated (tariffed) price. Template:As of, WN charges C$36.95+GST per month to members who sign up for home internet service (3~5 Mbit/s down/720 kbit/s up), which is less than Bell and Rogers charge for their high-speed Internet access service. WN Business service is $59.95 a month.
A Wi-Fi network coverage map is available at the Locations page. The service covers many areas, mainly in downtown Toronto. In October 2006, the co-op deployed a large antenna in Toronto's Kensington Market, covering about one quarter of the neighborhood with free WiFi Internet. The antenna and WiFi gear has been moved to the rooftop of Linux Caffe on the corner of Harbord and Grace in downtown Toronto as of June 2008. The neighborhood will be getting free WiFi Internet some time in late July or early August.
Wireless Nomad is one of the few ISPs in Canada that does not ban its residential subscribers from operating servers. Port 25 is also open for outgoing traffic. WN uses completely open-source software for its servers, website, and wireless routers. The servers run Gentoo Linux, and the Linksys WRT-54GL routers at each location run OpenWrt, ChilliSpot, and OpenVPN. WN's servers were hosted by the Toronto Community Co-location Project in downtown Toronto from January, 2005 until June, 2008.
As a Community Partner with the Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking (CRACIN) through Prof. Andrew Clement (Ph.D) and Mattew Wong (M.A.) with the University of Toronto's Community Wireless Infrastructure Research Project (CWIRP). WN has been a case study in the CRACIN project's investigation of community networks across Canada.