I’m a tech guy as most of my friends can attest. So this statement may come as some surprise: “I hate WiFi (with one exception)”. In my experience (and it is long and extensive) with 802.11 is that it isn’t ready for prime time yet. From its inception, every company has come out with their own variant and often they really aren’t compatable. The security is sup-par and totally crackable. The signals sometimes pass through walls and floors, sometimes they don’t, sometimes it depends on the atmospheric conditions.
In my old apartment I had no choice but to use WiFi. I had a base station, two tivo’s, one remote pc and a wireless hub to get all working at once. It took me days to get it all working. That includes firmware updates, buying and returing different access points and bridges, careful positioning and just flat out frusteration. I’m glad I own my new home. The first thing that I did was do end run cat6 cable runs everywhere. Guess what? I could never be happier. (well, I could be happier if I was able to do fiber).
Seriously, have you ever tried to get a powerbook working in a linksys environment? Hell, total hell. Anyway, I mentioned one exception and that is the IBM ThinkPad. for some reason, my girlfriends ThinkPad picks up and connects to everything and anything I want it to. I don’t know how it works, but it does.
So, lets talk about security. I don’t have the time to look it up right now, but there is a guy in federal prison becasue of crimes that were comitted over his WiFi network. What’s the problem here? Well, the guy was a computer illiterate and the crimes were comitted by someone outside of his house in a car. After raiding his house and taking his one PC, the feds admitted that this guy probably didn’t do anything wrong other than leave the WiFi unprotected, but since his was the connection, he was liable..
Anyway, the reason I’m writing today is that I’m concerned about Philadelphias WiFi project. I’m concerned about 2 things. First is of major importance to me: nobody has done a study on how all this additional RF radiation will affect our health in 10-20 years. City wide WiFi is not as simple as putting up some WiFi routers. We’re talking about some huge transmitters putting out tons of Watts of energy and I for one am concnerned that it will increase our susceptability to cancer over time. I have this same concern about weather radar systems put in place by our TV networks. You hear a lot about the “Doppler 10000” or whatever it’s called. The more power they put into these things, the more raditation is beamed out and into and through our bodies. Nobody seems to care one way or another and I don’t get it.
The second issue with ciry WiFi is one that I’m looking forward to since it will casue all kinds of anarchy and chaos. See, there is a really good chance that the high powered city-wide WiFi network will interfere with all of the home WiFi networks and make them in-operable. I can’t wait to see that mess.
Look I’m all for Philadelphia being progressive and all, but why couldn’t they instead use the Septa subway lines to run fiber through the city instead? Why not become a city-wide ISP like other cities are thinking about and doing?