The Wireless Problem

If you are like most individuals today, you own or use at least one wireless device.  In fact, current statistics show that nearly 1/3 of the world’s population, including individuals residing in third world countries, are internet users.  In the US, approximately 90% of the population accesses the internet via wireless devices.

As I speak, I am writing this log post from a personal netbook computer – like a laptop, but smaller, lighter, more portable.  I am posting from a private wifi network, while sitting next to me, a friend surfs the web on their own wireless device.  Meanwhile, a third wireless device, this one a phone, automatically connects to the networks for faster and constant communication.  Also accessing the wifi network, passively and constantly, are a printer, a gaming console, a dvd player, an ipad, television, a sleeping netbook, and an ipod.  You may be thinking that this is excessive, but what is becoming more and more common is a constant connection for instantaneous access to communication and information.  The wifi router – the device that makes the internet connection from a provider accessible to devices in the home or business – here is an N-router.  This is one of the fastest single antenna routers available.  The connection is a 12 mbps downlink cable connection.

don’t worry, I barely understand all that myself.  What it boils down to is that is this connected, private household, there is a fast, robust wifi connection available that can support the myriad of devices listed without considerable internet slow-down.

The reason I am writing this blog from a private wifi network in the first place is this: I could not load the page from the internet coffee shop down the block.  Because it is a public location, with advertised free wifi for customers, one would think that the connection available would be robust enough to support the needs of the users.  However, with ten customers sitting with their coffee, four on laptops or netbooks, and (let’s estimate) 9 of the 10 carrying smartphones that automatically connect to the internet, the connection was so bogged down that I could not load a webpage.  As a matter of fact, I couldn’t load any webpages for a while.

The router at the coffee shop is likely built into a DSL modem.  This means that the equipment comes from the phone company, is less robust to begin with, and is doing double duty.  It simply cannot support the needs of customers on an average Sunday afternoon.

This is a growing problem for the millions of wireless users that expect t to be able to obtain their content quickly and anywhere. The equipment is outdated and not up to par with the technology being used.  The wifi networks simply are not up to the task required by growing numbers of wireless devices.

Until such time as that changes, plan to pull internet from friends and family, not from cafes and coffee shops struggling to support growing numbers of users.  And you might want to consider a larger data plan for the a smart phone — the wifi connects just aren’t cutting it these days.

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