Karma Wi-Fi Hotspot Review

Dashboard and Social Bandwidth
The Karma dashboard shows how much data remains on your account and how much you’ve earned through referrals and association bonuses. In the account options, the Karma owner can change the name of the Wi-Fi network SSID to any one of “Karma Wi-Fi”, “Free Wi-Fi by Karma”, “Free Karma by ”, or “< owner name > ’s Karma”. I opted for the second, because I actively want people to use my hotspot so that I get the credits!

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Within days of receiving my device and taking it with me to various events, I’d accumulated 1,400 MB in free bandwidth across several referral link and redemption bonuses. After 10 bonuses, you get a 5 GB bonus. That’s like $70 worth of bandwidth for free.

I get an email when someone joins my hotspot, but I’d really like to see something on the aforementioned landing page that they are there. If they use too much of my available throughput, I want to be able to kick them off!

There’s also a usage graph. I took this screen shot after my first speed test – it was really neat to see the usage in almost real time. That same page also lets you purchase more data and see your payment history.

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There is not currently an easy way to share your bandwidth with someone else. For instance, if I want to give my girlfriend access to use my balance, she has to use my account. Otherwise, she has to sign up (free bandwidth for me and her!) but she’ll run out eventually. I’d rather be able to give her bandwidth or explicitly allow her devices to access my hotspot. Fortunately, Steven van Wel, CEO of Karma, tells me that a bandwidth gift feature is in the works. Neat!

iOS app
Karma offers an iOS app that shows the same information as the Dashboard. This app is only available for iOS 7.

Poking around
I of course had to poke around a little bit and see what opportunities for device…0wnership… presented themselves.

Port scan:

[colin@kid Source]$ sudo nmap -p 1-65534 192.168.1.1
Password:

Starting Nmap 6.25 ( http://nmap.org ) at 2013-12-12 08:56 EST
Nmap scan report for clearspot (192.168.1.1)
Host is up (0.0063s latency).
Not shown: 65529 closed ports
PORT     STATE SERVICE
53/tcp   open  domain
80/tcp   open  http
443/tcp  open  https
9800/tcp open  unknown
9801/tcp open  unknown
MAC Address: 00:1E:31:91:7C:BE (Infomark Co.)

Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 165.80 seconds

It’s obviously running TCP DNS on port 53, and HTTP and HTTPS on port 80 and 443, respectively.

Ports 9800 and 9801 are of interest to me. Connecting via telnet to 9800 yielded a firehose of binary data. 9801 was the same, except this text header:

lBand=10M, FFT=1024, TTG=296, RTG=168, #UL=18, #DL=29, UL-SCH=35, Fs=11.2, Frame=14000, Sym=288

Karma support tells me that port 9800 is used for Clearwire’s X-CAL testing and 9801 is used to calibrate the RF characteristics of the device. Both are binary-only data used for testing the device in a lab setting, so there’s not likely much value in consuming that data in the wild.

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