Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Endless Wireless Highway

In a totally unscientific experiment today I decided to see how many wireless networks I could see, attach to, and get internet access from during a 29 mile drive from a client's office back to my office. The trip utilized a handful of mile of surface streets through Long Beach, Ca and Irvine, Ca and over 20 miles of freeway driving using the 405, 22, and 5 freeways though a number of towns.

During the entire trip, there was only a lack of signal for less than 1 total minute of drivetime. There was also a total of 2 minutes in which the only networks available we secured. During the remaining ~45 minutes of driving, I averaged 3 unsecured wireless networks at any time with a minimum of 2 bars (Windows Available Wireless Networks screen). I completely lost count of how many were named either Default, SMC, or Netgear as it was well over 90% of the networks. On at least 8 occasions, 10 different networks were detected at the same time.

With access like this, if one could seemlessly move from one wireless point to another, my laptop would have faired better than my cell phone.

No special equipment was used. A new Compaq nc6000 laptop with internal 802.11g wireless card was sitting on the top of my laptop case in the passenger seat.

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