WiFi Wilderness

September 21, 2006

The spread of services offered in motels must follow a pattern, it only makes sense that once one motel offered free color television, that all the others had to as well in order to compete. Overnight it seems that every motel (and hotel) started pointing the ends of the toilet paper roll.

The spread of WiFi or Internet connectivity is following a similar pattern. Business travelers who want to stay connected are most likely driving the WiFi spread, consequently you always find it along the Interstate highway corridors. However, venture off the beaten path and connectivity becomes scarcer. Both of the motels I've been in this past week "offer" WiFi, but getting it the comfort of your room is not guaranteed.

In Gold Beach I could only get connected in the motel lobby, and then sporadically. I think the motel got the base equipment, set it up once, added the "WiFi" letters to their signboard and called it done. Largely WiFi in name only. Tonight, in Bandon, at least they don't claim to offer WiFi in the rooms. They are quite upfront about saying there is dial-up in the rooms and WiFi in the lobby. I guess when there is an ocean across the road most people aren't going to quibble about Internet access.

However, I am a nerd, and as such I'll explode without semi-frequent Internet transfusions. Access to my email has been the primary need for me this week; and while I have been able to accomplish that in the two lobbies, I have learned more about motel operations through background conversations than I really ever wanted to know.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.