I’m sitting here in my living room, frustrated because my Linksys wireless router has a horrible range. I’m not 30 feet away from it, but at this moment, I’m getting about a 35 percent link quality on my wireless network.
My problems are minuscule compared to the problems business travelers must have in Reno, though. All I have to do is change couches and my link quality goes up to 60 percent. With that sort of link, I can fly though my e-mail, zip through the RSCVA’s Web site, access my bank account to transfer funds, check out the latest news on CNN—anything I need.
It’s easy for me, but how do business travelers take care of business? Most casinos don’t have high-speed access, and what is available is expensive. Aren’t regular tourists more demanding of connectivity these days? It won’t be long before the train whistles stop, and tourists staying downtown will be able to sleep through the night. They may even be able to drive through the city. It seems it’s time to start planning for the post-trench Reno.
The technology exists to cover Reno and Sparks under an umbrella of Internet access. Is a municipal wireless network something we should consider? Perhaps we taxpayers could pay current WISPs like Great Basin or Pyramid.net to increase the densities of their umbrellas. It would put us on a par with counties like San Mateo, which set up a wireless umbrella so police wouldn’t have to return to the stations as often, and cities like Boston, San Francisco and Seattle that have huge hot spots. Indeed, many cities are bridging the digital divide and attracting high-tech businesses and business travelers. Web sites like www.muniwireless.com do a pretty good job of outlining the benefits and low costs of providing this technology. Reno already has a fat-pipeline AP over the train trench—freely accessible to anyone who can use it—and the University of Nevada, Reno is increasing its wireless VPN on a daily basis. Wouldn’t it be handy if everyone had this kind of access?