Monday, July 17, 2006

T-Mobile Eats Babies

Not really, but they have succeeded in making my trip to Albuquerque a real pain. Their hot spots charge $9.99/day for internet access, roughly 1/4 the cost of my connection at home per month. They only "provided" internet at two places I visited, but spent a substantial amount of time at. The following details where internet was and wasn't available.

  • Greenville/Spartanburg Airport (GSP): Free internet. Postage sized airport.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW): T-Mobile Hotspot. Enormous sized airport.
  • Albuquerque Sunport (ABQ): Free Internet. Provided by the city of Albuquerque, that's how you roll out the welcome mat.
  • Hyatt Regency Hotel: T-Mobile Hotspot. This is a luxury hotel. All said, I paid $US 174 per night for a triple occupancy room. Every cheap hotel near the airport has free wifi, but the conference hotel for a conference of Electrical Engineers can't? I think there should be a rule that if you don't give away internet access, you can't answer the question "Do you have wireless internet?" in the affirmative or use WIFI as a marketing term on your hotel's website.
  • Albuquerque Conference Center: Free internet in public areas where you could get away from people spamming the spectrum with Ad Hoc networks and Ad Hoc phishing schemes.
  • Just about every restaurant and cafe in Albuquerque: Free internet, not that I sacrificed conversation with friends and colleagues to surf.
  • Grand Canyon National Park: A glorious dead zone without cell phones. You get one bar right up to the entrance of the park and then nothing. I hope the National Forest Service makes this possible at many more of their parks.
  • Holiday Inn Express: Free internet with login. Better than the Hyatt on this one.
The point being I'm a spoiled kid who likes his body permeated by 2.45 GHz waves providing free internet.

The rest of the conference ...

My presentation was last Tuesday morning in a session with the rest of the MURI group we work with. The day before I attended a session with some gents from Sweden who were doing similar work testing GPS receivers against a wideband magnetron source (*drool* I use a heavily modified microwave oven). They were pumping a maximum of 700 V/m from their source. The oven was rated at 1300 W which gave me a maximum in the 10's of V/m. Magnetron envy aside, my presentation went well. I received a lot of positive feed back and collected some business cards as lovely parting gifts. Wednesday a professor from JMU presented similar work performed by undergrads with a less heavily modified microwave oven than mine. Bottom line: Beware your electronics are subject to testing by intentional EMI if you leave them lying around. :)


KD5NRH said...

Geez, I'm in a town of 15,000, and there are still two motels, a college, and a couple other places in town with free wireless. I can't imagine why any business would risk driving away customers by using a non-free service when it's so cheap to provide it free.

Heck, if they already have a connection, which most businesses do these days, all they're likely to need is a few $40-50 WDS-capable access points.

Chris said...

I hear you loud and clear on the hotel front, but I have to disagree on the National Parks. Wifi is possibly the LAST thing that our national parks need. More funding and rangers would be nice, though. Making it easy to commute from the national park should be an anti-priority - go there to enjoy the park, not to work. (or play on your computer, for that matter)

Fake Sue Nokes said...

Next time send us your itinerary. We'll provide with a team of engineers to setup a hotspot wherever you're at. Or maybe a 75 mile long ethernet cable