What are your Orion WiFi questions?

Hi @orionwifi Beta members… all 166 (so far) of you!

Thanks for your patience as I’ve been working through the Beta requests. It’s exciting to see this much interest in the Beta!

The requests to join keep rolling in, and I’ll keep working on them, so if you haven’t heard from me yet, please don’t despair. Everyone who requested to participate in the Beta prior to 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, 10/25/20 (today) has been answered. I’ll also follow up again early in the week once engineering has the feature enabled for your phones.

So, you’re probably wondering… what are we doing here?!

Some of you have already been searching the internet to see what you can learn about Orion WiFi. So tell us, what did you learn?

If you have time, listen to the podcast shared in our Announcement topic:

What questions do you have?
Don’t feel limited to asking questions, though. Maybe you’ve done a bit more reading or have some background that helps you understand this concept. If someone asks a question and you can answer it, go right ahead!

The @orionwifiteam has offered to do a webinar for our Orion WiFi Beta members, and we’ll use the questions you bring up here to frame the information that’s shared in the webinar. If you already understand it perfectly, we’ll know we don’t need a webinar!

Your first question is probably, "where can I try it out?!"
I’ll be sharing information about the location of the current Orion WiFi sites sometime next week, so there’s no need to make that one of your questions! We do ask that you keep that information private, as the participating venues will want to make their own public announcements concerning their participation, on their own schedules.

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Will there be an obvious indication to us when we have connected to an Orion site vs maybe one we have already setup or connected to in the past?

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Will connecting to Orion wifi cause my hair to grow back?

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Question will orion effect the price of my phone plan

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This one I can answer. It will not impact the price of your phone plan. It is being offered as a benefit to Republic customers at no additional charge.

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What I have read is that carrier would have to pay for orion wifi.

Republic pays the carriers to use their networks. Pays the company that help with spam filtering for that. Pays for the forum software we’re on. Pays Bandwidth for the VoIP portion of the network. Etc Etc. If Republic is paying for Orion (we have no idea based on their participation in the beta, confidentiality of agreements, etc) its another one of their costs, but they’re not passing them on (at least for now).

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  1. Will this orion wifi work with VPN?

  2. Will this orion wifi work on android and Mac desktop?

  3. How much will orion wifi cost besides what I pay monthly for Republic Wireless? If it costs more money I’m not sure if I want orion wifi.

  4. What day/time will orion wifi be doing a webinar so I can see and here them?

  5. I don’t mind tecnical, but I would prefer orion talking on the webinar.

  6. Questions can come up at the webinar as well.

Thank you

Les a member of Republic Wireless for some time.

It is a wifi connection, there’s no reason a VPN wouldn’t work over it.

Orion wifi is a service being offered to you by Republic and will work only on your Republic cell phone that meets the minimum requirement.

They haven’t announced this yet.

These aren’t two separate things. The Orion team is the technical team.

Hi @robert00 and @louisdi,

Good discussion.

It’s true that there’s a new cost to Republic associated with connections to Orion sites. As Louis mentioned, there are a lot of costs associated with providing service. There were costs associated with our previous implementation of WiFi hotspots that @Majorninth has referenced. There are costs when you use cellular data.

For those participating in our Orion Beta, for the duration of the Beta, Orion will not affect the price of your plan. It’s too early to yet be certain beyond all doubt that RW will always be able to provide access to Orion sites at our current pricing.

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Hi @lesc,

This isn’t a question the Orion team would be able to answer, so it wouldn’t be appropriate for the Webinar. We understand everyone’s concerns about pricing and we’ll be sure there are no surprises if/when our implementation of Orion moves from Beta to General Availability.

This would be an odd question for them to answer during the Webinar, but once we have those details, we’ll share them with the Beta participants here in Community.

Me, too! That’s the whole point of the webinar. All of us want to hear from the Orion team.

Most webinars have some time built in for Q&A, and we can always continue those conversations in Community, as well.

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  1. I have burnt before with VPN not working with my wifi. Are you able to guarantee that my VPN will work 100% with this orion wifi?

2 What are the minimum requirements for cell phone?

  1. Ok.

  2. Please explain your answer,
    I don’t understand.

Thank you

Les

I think in general, Republic Wireless calling does not work well on WiFi when you’re connected through a VPN. There’s no reason to think Orion WiFi would behave any differently, but it’s something we can ask to have coveredin the webinar, and something our Beta testers can test as they get a chance to visit Orion sites. What VPN do you use on your phone?

These were given in the call for early adopters announcement. The phone must be on Android 10 or higher and the Republic app must be up to date.

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There are two different things here. The first is the VPN working at all. I don’t anticipate that there will be problems with VPN working with the wifi. Of course, I and I doubt anyone else can guarantee anything.

Second, the VPN working with Republic calling. This has pretty much nothing to do with Orion. VPNs don’t play well with Republic calling because of the latency introduced. Doesn’t matter what wifi you’re on and unrelated to Orion.

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Will any of the large scale cable companies (Spectrum, Xfinity, Comcast, etc) be opening up with Orion? Or is this mainly intended for large venues (stadiums, arenas, airports, malls, etc)? I’m also interested in whether it’s also geared for smaller more widespread coverage vs localized large scale operations.

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I hope not. While the cable operators claim widespread coverage, often this is the result of allowing folks to connect to their residential customers’ gateways. Generally, in my experience, the quality of those connections stinks.

A look at the hardware partners mentioned on Orion’s Area 120 page suggests, to me, Orion is aimed at enterprise grade WiFi networks but time will tell.

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Well I I had good luck with them in the past (previous rw open wifi) when I was waiting for the wife in small shops that had nearby cable wifi. Better than no wifi or wifi with no displayed password.

I just listened to the Podcast that @southpaw posted and found it very informative. Here are some of my key takeaways (all positive):

  • working to be standards based (no “secret sauce”)
  • No end-user PII data shared across connection (including device MAC, etc)
  • designed to inter-operate with OpenRoaming Federation
  • Orion team working closely (and members of) Wireless Broadband Alliance
  • zero-touch experience with low drain on device
  • the standards being used have been supported by Android/iOS for quite a while now and are being actively improved
  • easy for the network operator to implement (in most cases), and most major AP vendors are supported

Orion Team, please correct or clarify if I misrepresented anything

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