Bandwidth is like oxygen. Each day our dependence on the wireless web grows. How many devices do you have in your home that are connected to your wireless router? What does the proliferation of wirelessly networked devices say about our campus networks? Will we be able to build enough access points and secure enough bandwidth to keep up?
In coming up with my home wireless census I was actually surprised by what is not yet connected. The major systems in my house remain disconnected from the web. The Internet of Things may be around the corner, but today’s reality means no smart meters for my electrical, heating, or water systems. The only way to tell if the propane, the fuel that heats my furnace and hot water heater and cooks my food, is running low in the tank outside is to go outside and check the meter. It would make sense if the propane tank was hooked up to the Web, smartly dispatching a delivery of fuel when the tank got below 15 percent, but that amenity lies somewhere in the future.
So what is hooked up to the home WiFi if not the house systems? What devices are competing for bandwidth in my home? And what does this (embarrassingly) long list say about materialist culture and techno-dependence of middle class early 21st century family life?
2: Almond Range Extenders
3: Nest Thermostats
4: Laptops - 3 MacBook Airs and 1 MacBook Pro
1: iPad Mini
1: Kindle PaperWhite
1: Apple Airport Express (hooked up to printer)
2: NixPlay 8 Inch WiFi Cloud Digital Photo Frames
1. Bose SoundTouch 20 WiFi Music System
1. Roku 3 Streaming Player
1. Nintendo Wii
1. FitBit Aria WiFi Scale
22 devices all vying for the scarce bandwidth that my home DSL connection provide. And DSL is the only option where I live in rural New Hampshire. Comcast does not bring cable internet out to our house. DSL is a huge improvement from the satellite Internet that we first had to use when we moved into our house. You can check out the video that Hughes did of my family on satellite internet back in 2008, before DSL came to my street. (This is back when I was teaching online for Quinnipiac University Online).
What wouldn’t I give for fiber to the home? I could envision making my next home purchase based on where the fastest Internet is available. Comcast - why are you not providing cable Internet options to my home? Why can Comcast get the monopoly franchise in my town, but not provide service to all of the residents? How come Comcast can oppose any efforts for municipal fiber, but yet not provide any options in the (monopoly) franchise area?
Do you have any ideas how I can get more bandwidth to my house?
Will I look back on this list in 6 years and think it ridiculous as the Hughes satellite internet video?
What does the growth of wirelessly networked consumer devices say about the future needs of campus WiFi?
How many devices do you have connected to your home WiFi router?
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