These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced
(no more than 5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt Blattenberger.
here to return to the Table of Contents.
Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted
reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
WLAN in the Most Unlikely Places
If you have any remaining doubt about the adoption rate of WLAN, this news will remove it. Melanie and I
needed to visit her parents in West Virginia earlier this week. As we normally do, we took the notebook computer
along and tend to RF Cafe business (answering e-mail, posting headlines, updating Recent Additions, etc.) while
there using her parents’ dial-up service. Connection speeds of about 40 kbps are the norm. It is painful, to say
the least, but at least we are in-touch.
Her parents live about 5 miles outside of
Morgantown, which is the second largest city in the state, but are buried in a little depression (an appropriate
term for this place, believe me) with two small neighborhoods adjacent to their property. This satellite map shows
the area I am describing. Their property is outlined in yellow (click on map thumbnail). I decided to
allow the WLAN card in the computer to scan
for wireless networks. To my great surprise, I picked up two while inside the house. I next took the computer
outside and scanned again. This time, no fewer than seven networks were detected – five secured and two unsecured
(click on screenshot thumbnail).
Longing for a high-speed connection, I attempted to log onto the stronger of the two unsecured networks and was
able to get a 5 Mbps connection. Sweet! Although the power level was low and the data rate varied, it was still a
couple magnitudes better than the telephone line. The closest house is about 100 feet away and the strongest
signal fluctuated between the 2-bar and 3-bar level. My guess is that all seven signals must be originating from
the homes within about 200 to 300 feet, so surely there are many more wireless networks operating in that same
Podunk area of WV.
Knowing that area from having visited there for many years, I can tell you that the ratio of Working vs. Welfare
households highly favors Welfare, so that means our tax dollars are subsidizing an awful lot of broadband Internet
setups. No doubt we are also paying for the computers that are associated with those networks. I can also tell you
that most of the people there also have premium cable TV and cellphones, 4WD trucks, multiple dogs, chain-smoke
cigarettes, and buy better cuts of meat than I do (using food stamps, of course). But I digress.
RF Cafe Forum
poster who lives in San Diego wrote of his ability to connect for free from just about anywhere in that dense
environment, I have discovered that there is a good chance you can connect wirelessly in even some of the most
unlikely places. You might try scanning your neighborhood for connections. My house in North Carolina is in a
fairly rural area with not many neighbors; the closest is about 300-400 feet away. Even so, my notebook computer
sees his unsecured LinkSys WLAN. If I was not an honest person, I could cancel my $42/month broadband plan with
EarthLink and operate for free off of his.
Your comments are welcome