Wireless Internet Breakthrough!
Last night’s entry was posted today from the parking lot of a Sleep Inn (I backdated it). During our drive today, I pulled off the highway and borrowed some bandwidth from the Sleep Inn’s free wireless Internet. I would not have been driven to such desperate measures, but the previous night I was unable to connect to the Internet via my Verizon phone.
As it turned out, the problem was that I was in an “extended network” area (half a mile from I-95 in Smithfield, VA). In such areas, I can’t connect to the Internet using Verizon’s service – at least, I haven’t found a way yet. And since Verizon doesn’t officially support Apple Macs, their customer service is no help.
That’s why I was so pleased to hear from Airstream this week. They have been testing a new system from Sony and River Park which essentially connects to Sprint’s latest high-speed wireless Internet service (where available) and re-broadcasts the signal as wi-fi inside and near your Airstream.
I tried this system at the RV Industry Association trade show in Louisville, KY last December. It was very impressive, delivering megabit speeds anywhere inside or near their prototype “Airstream One” trailer. And yes, it works with Mac.
The really sweet thing about this system, which may be available as a 2006 option on new Airstreams, is that multiple users can simultaneously access the Internet, sharing the bandwidth. Imagine going to a rally and being a wireless hotspot for yourself and a few of your close friends!
Well, that’s what we are going to do. Airstream called today and offered me a trial of the new system, to be installed in Vintage Thunder in the next two or three weeks. The box is fairly expensive (about $1200) but I can tell you that the performance is equally impressive – at least in Louisville KY.
So future blog entries will include my impressions of this new system as we roam to the Homecoming in late May, the International Rally in June/July, and other events. If it works well, drop by Vintage Thunder with your laptop to check email at a rally. Personally, I can’t wait!