2,000 miles of Wireless Internet

Our trip from Florida to MinnesotaAs promised, I’ve got a few experiential observations on my road trip from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Minneapolis, MN (though we’re stuck in Iowa tonight since I-35 is closed due to the winter storm).

As I write this, the Discovery channel is airing a program entitled FutureCar and the automatrix…the promise of a mesh network where seamless and ubiquitious connections allow a host of services where a smart vehicle does an amazing array of stuff because it’s connected.

If my experiences are any indication, we’re a long way off from the promise in this program becoming a reality.

I’ve now been in two chain hotels (La Quinta and mostly Marriott’s) both of whom boast “Free, Wireless Internet”. It’s free but it’s been sloooooow in every single location. I’ve done extensive testing in each hotel and have averaged onlhy 220kbps download and 305kbps upload speeds — I could go faster by connecting through Bluetooth and my Treo via Verizon Wireless! This was done at various times of the day and finally had a tech support guy with one chain’s vendor tell me, “Oh…we throttle the speed due to all the video and stuff people are doing now.”  Great. So much for Web 2.0 and free wireless hotel Internet.

The fun-as-hell Verizon wireless-on-the-interstate access I’ve had still amazes me, but there’s no question that a propeller on your beanie is extraordinarily useful connecting this way. Lots of futzing to get and keep the connection running. Sometimes I’d move from location-to-location and it would hang…until I disconnected and reconnected to establish the connection again. Probably due to different providers I was roaming within, but this is still not a solution for Joe Average user.

All that said, we are SO much further along with wireless technology than I would’ve expected for an Internet that’s less than 12 years old (if you want to mark the commercial emergence of the Internet with Netscape’s IPO). I want seamless and easy…and everywhere access that’s FAST.

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  1. Ed Kohler on March 1, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    It’s a good thing you went South rather than West. I had no luck from Omaha to Denver with an EVDO card, and couldn’t even get a cell connection for a large chunk of the drive across Nebraska on my Treo. We had plenty of podcasts to catch up on to pass the time.

  2. Micah Davis on March 6, 2007 at 11:16 am


    I recently came across your blog via links on some other sights. Your remarks are very candid and you share some great insights…for that I just wanted to say thank you.

    All the best,

    Micah Davis

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.