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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dead horse

Free municipal wi-fi, which has been so underwhelming in Portland, has now been shown to be a flop just about everywhere it's been tried. In other words, a not-so-hot idea.

Comments (7)

I notice that in the linked article, Portland is not on the list of cities whose "once-promising projects are in trouble". The reality is that Portland's WI-FI project is on life support and nothing will save it. In fact it was still-born. That does not mean, however, that the city can't throw a few million good dollars after bad before the plug is pulled.

I'd like to know how Portland's WI-FI system works if you pony up $150 bucks to buy a "signal booster" that the people from MetroFi claim will make their anemic signal usable.

You know Jack and everyone else reading this, you really ought to be a little more open minded.

I got on three times after only trying 17 times. (Yes, I am an unrealistic optimist at times)

You just need to be right under the antenna and not move too much. And be outside. In good weather. And be patient.

I have had the most success at the antenna located by the Storage Place near NE 72nd and Broadway Ct. Just watch out for the syringes and other various nasty things on the ground there (nuff said)

In all truth, I was really hoping they could pull it off, but then it seems that they were hoping to as well.

Wi-fi coverage as a utility everywhere isn't really a bad idea. Trying to do it on the cheap with old technology, on the other hand, is.

I have an antenna outside my office window at 4th & Columbia. With a laptop at the window, I still cannot get it to connect without a booster.

I couldn't connect to the wireless router in the next bedroom down the hall, how did ANYONE expect wireless to work across the street?

Wireless networking technology - B&G - has a very limited range.

Underwhelming? Every day I am thankful that there is now free WiFi that now conveniently feeds into my home network. Previously, I was still on dial-up and could not justify the $40/mo so I could have faster downloads of Flash animations and banner ads. Once I discovered my local nodes (~500' away) were turned-on, I got an old Linksys router ($0, but routinely ~$30 on eBay, CraigsList), upgraded it with a more sophisticated firmware ($0), put it up high in a second story bedroom and now routinely get between B and G download rates. Certainly better than 46baud.

Yes, it has dropped out once or twice in the past few months, and I can't send email through it (port 25 is blocked), but overall it's great.

Yes, it's true wireless networking hasn't been dumbed down to cell phone level, but its not rocket surgery either. And I realize some may have naively assumed once everything was turned on, there would be no problems, but the infrastructure is in place and I think that's a huge start.

Wireless networking technology - B&G - has a very limited range.

Nah, its good for 300ft if you have a decent antenna on your router, and there are limited obstructions. I share my internet with my neighbors who cannot afford it on their own. I have a Linksys "G" router, and I use the antennas that came with it.
Their computer is easily 50-60ft from my router, and in a different building next door. Connects just fine. And I use my laptop upstairs all the time.

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