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A Writer's View of the Wireless Dream - Part 2 - page 5

Into the WiFi Unknown

  • December 8, 2003
  • By Rob Reilly

If you are a Linux consultant and want to drum up business, a wireless card and antenna are a great way to do it. I know it sounds silly, but it is a real attention getter. I can't see that same effect happening with an operating system other than Linux. And the general computer population all know that Linux users are geeks, anyway. Might as well leverage that image to your advantage. It's generated great opportunities for me to point people to my tech articles and talk to them about their computer needs. Wireless and Linux is always an instant credibility booster.

I hacked my SMC 802.11b card to use an external antenna (here's some instructions). The little 1/4 wavelength dipole clips to the top of my screen and connects to the card via an RG-58U cable. It's good for about 1000 ft. in open air. Lawyers, teachers, businessmen and techies have all approached me with curiosity and asked "how does that wireless stuff work"?

Overall, I think WiFi is here to stay. I'd like to see blanket coverage of the U.S. with access points, but I know that it's going to take a while. And, let's not forget that low-cost wireless broadband (in any form) has only been available for a couple of years. People are only now starting to enjoy the technology that is WiFi. Right now you just have to look for it and plan ahead a little.

Rob Reilly (aka: "Dr. Torque") is a Senior Technology Consultant, whose work includes Linux, business systems integration and R&D work for various clients. Rob's articles appear on LinuxToday.com and in PC Update Magazine. He frequently gives talks on his experience in the high technology, manufacturing and utilities industries. He is always 'on-the-lookout' for stories and projects that focus on Linux, business and new technology. Send him a note or visit his web site at http://home.earthlink.net/~robreilly.

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