Wherefore WiFi?

I was sitting in a meeting at the Floyd High School one day recently with my laptop conspicuously up and running.  (I’m not that much of a geek as I am painfully awful anymore at longhand and use OneNote on the ThinkPad to keep legible notes, and set alarms and put things on the calendar.)


But here’s the point: Out of curiosity I told my wireless connection to find wireless access from that high school conference room. In addition to the encrypted high school routers I expected, there appeared a Holiday Inn wireless. That’s weird. The nearest was a good 25 miles away. But then I often pull up this kind of inexplicable and impossibly far-off routers in Café del Sol and such places around Floyd. What gives?


I never understood this, but here’s the scoop: It has to do with the benignly but uselessly “viral” spread of individual computers that have connected to specific “access points” that then appear to others as “ad hoc networks” that look like access points but aren’t.


Read the TechBlog piece for all the details, and next time you pull up the Baltimore Sherton Wi-Fi from your local Blacksburg bagel shop, you’ll know why.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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