Odie's Roadies

Sunday, February 20, 2005

More WiFi Stuff

Here in Quartzsite, there is a WiFi provider named RVLogon. They are not in a particular park, but instead, cover wide areas of Quartzsite and the open desert. The antenna / Access Point that is nearest to where we are is in Rainbow Acres. We took a walk and found the antenna - it is about 700 feet from where we are parked. We know that because each lot here is 85 ft wide, and the antenna is 6 lots down, then across one more lot (120 ft deep) and 2 streets. 700 ft is still an estimate, but it's pretty close. If it weren't for the roof of one house, we would have line-of-sight. So, this looked like a good test for WiFi adapters. Here's the different equipment we tried.

1. My computer with a Microsoft USB adapter. I couldn't even see RVLogon in my list of available wireless networks.

2. Jim's Sony Vaio laptop with the built-in adapter. He can see RVLogon in his list. He can even connect and browse! That is truly a *Wonder Computer*. But, the signal fluctuates and drops occasionally. It's not reliable. If he adds our special outdoor antenna (5db gain) he can connect and browse reliably.

3. Frankie's Dell laptop with Zyxel USB adapter. She can't see the network on her list at all. We tried adding our special outdoor antenna connected to her computer thru a PC card and it could see the signal, but not enough to connect to it. Jim then switched out the PC card for an Ethernet 'bridge'. He attached the outdoor antenna to the bridge and voila! She could connect and browse very reliably.

You know the old saying, right?! If at first you don't succeed, try try again. This is never more true than in using computers for anything. Especially WiFi!

I've been writing more tips on WiFi, but since this is primarily a personal travel weblog, I didn't want it to get overwhelmed with WiFi info. So, I put the tips where I think they are more appropriate - on Coach Connect's website. Specifically they're on the 'Support' page - then click on the button for "WiFi on the Road - Tips and Tales" The latest tip is: "The equipment you use to connect to a WiFi hotspot is VERY important."
posted by Chris at 2/20/2005 10:41:00 AM

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