Saturday, November 25, 2006

Lets talk about Hotel Wireless

Alright, right now I am up in Pigeon Forge, TN, on a family trip, and I've come across what could be described as a pet peeve of mine. Right now my laptops are only getting 5-15% of the hotels wireless access service, and that is driving me bonkers. I am just on the very edge of the service bubble, enough that a newer wireless adapter is having no problems maintaining a connection at low levels, but an older netgear card is going haywire and won't stop scanning channels.

(no problems includes 600ms ping times and 14k modem connection speeds, http://test.lvcm.com says I'm running at about 512k, Planetside and City Of Heros say I'm not).

Anyways, the reason why it drives me bonkers is that I cannot figure out who in the world would setup a hotel's wireless connection signal like this. It isn't the first time that I've been on the edge of the service bubble, while at E3 earlier this year (yeah, when I had a regular paying job), I had the same exact event occur. Just on the very edge of the wireless bubble, only with 0-5% signal.

I get the feeling that the hotels simply buy the Linksys / Dlink / whoever marketing blitz that the Wireless Routers will reach for however many feet, place a router, walk the distance out, walk it out again, place another router, and so on. It seems like it never occurs to a hotel to bother having a network specialist come in to advice them on wireless network building (I am available for this, and trust me, I will glady travel 500+ miles to help set up wireless network infrastructures). The walls, plumbing, electrical lines, elevators, microwaves, and everything else will wreck havoc with the signal. The only way to really be sure that all rooms have "good" access is to actually walk inside the room with a laptop, PDA, or wireless network location device and very signal strengths of 50%+. The point at which you begin to lose 50% signal strength is where you need to be making your halfway point at. Walk from that point, set another router, go back to the middle, measure the signal strength, and make sure that everybody can connect.


That way everybody who visits the hotel can connect at a decent speed.

Is that really so hard?


note, about most of the way through this we went away to the Black Bear Jamboree Dinner and Show, so most of the vitriol I have against the hotel has kinda dissipated, until I reconnected to "very low" signal strenth. 4%-7% range.
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