Wireless Home Network…just a phase?

I didn’t get a chance to blog about this, but a few weeks ago a local wholesaler had a two-day sale of computer parts, so I went and stocked up on a few niceities, one of them being a Cnet Wireless-G Router.
Now I have little exposure to setting up wireless networks, all I’ve ever been was a user of wireless networks, not an administrator. I was, as far as I knew, the ONLY wireless laptop user at UWI utilising Linux, since before SimplyMepis 3.3 and Knoppix came out with their automated configuration scripts for wireless cards I was manually and semi-successfully configuring NDISWrapper to work with my Linksys Wireless-G card.
So I stepped into the role of WLAN administrator for the first time. Quite frankly, I was impressed by just how easy to use today’s routers have become. A little knowledge of networking is helpful with configuring one of course, since you do at least need to know what your DNS settings are. DHCP usually takes care of the whole assigning IP addresses problem, and a built-in DHCP server has become quite a common feature of many routers. Because of my security requirements at this moment, as well as my lack of knowledge of wireless security protocols, I chose not to integrate WEP or WPA (as yet) because that would require entering keys on every PC I wanted to hook up to the Internet. At the time of setup I just wanted to be up and running quickly. I chose instead to simply hide my WLAN’s SSID. The SSID is simply the name that identifies the wireless network running and which all PCs wishing to access the WLAN must know and be configured to use in order to utilise the WLAN.
Now that I have successfully been running the wireless network for a few weeks, the benefits I realise are still only niceities rather than necessities. I can surf while relaxing in the recliner of my older brother’s air conditioned room while watching cable on the only television in the house equipped with it. The cooler environment of his room has always been a better environment for my laptop, if my house was better designed for it I would have had a unit installed in my room too, and eventually I will have to, given the equipment I’m hoping to acquire in the coming months.
Back to the topic of WLANs though, I have realised that the signal from the WLAN router is quite strong, stronger than I had expected. Despite the relatively small size of the router and the isolated corner of my room in which I have it set up, I can reach the edge of my house, some 4 walls and about 50 feet away I’d estimate and still have an excellent quality signal showing up on my laptop, something which makes me wonder just how many neighbours are within range of my WLAN’s signal.
As far as I know I don’t have any hacker neighbours, and my house is remote enough that I should avoid any possible war-drivers (and believe me, Trinidad has them), so I think that should buy me some time while I learn about wireless security. My laptop is also turned off when I’m not on it, and the router has an indicator for WLAN activity and LAN activity, so if I see any lights blinking that shouldn’t I think I would have an indication of the time when stronger wireless security precautions becomes a high enough priority.
So now, a few weeks later, here I am, still at my brother’s PC typing away, while my laptop sits idly upstairs. Why? I think it’s the discipline I just developed over time of sitting at this particular desk, in the chair I’ve sat on for so many years, in the room that has been my access point to the world since I took up Internet access at home again. Finding a new spot to be just as productive is not going to be easy, I think other spots in the house may be good for occassional idle browsing, but for me, the discipline of productivity is only acheivable where I am comfortable (hence why I also cannot study at home for UWI exams, only at UWI). Perhaps that is why I never really felt the urge to be productive outside of the office in Barbados, although I had the time to acheive so many personal goals…my comfortable learning spot was still in Trinidad. Hmm…things to ponder :)
So we shall see in the coming weeks (if my ISP stops screwing up and gets its service back to 100%) if this is just a phase or whether I can adjust to my new found freedom of wireless surfing at home.

1 comment

  1. Lily Jun 11

    Well for us it wasn’t a phase. I got the wireless/wired network up and running before I even got my computer and thus with only one old slow compaq running ubuntu and it works really nicely and we all like it…for taking to the kitchen (recipes), for dragging to wherever we’re doing work for leaving in dad’s study..

    But then I guess I’ve never been quite disciplined or…at least not at a desk…my bed and falling asleep with all my books around me through UWI is how I study so adding my wireless laptop to it just seems natural…:)

    So to me it’s a necessity.
    Now that the windows computer is down in the house, I don’t have to have people in my room when they need another one :)
    But not having greendot working properly makes nobody really need to use a computer anywayz…

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