• United States

What WLANs everywhere could mean

Jan 24, 20062 mins

* Couple examples of WLANs making life interesting

LANs have a fairly long history now of changing the way businesses operate. With the explosion in recent years of LANs going wireless in homes and businesses across the country, the technology is now affecting the way we live.

I’m not even talking about the wireless “hot spots,” where some businesses try to take advantage of this trend to make a buck. Yes, this is an important component of what’s going on – especially the work that municipalities are doing to make wireless LAN-based access to the Internet available to citizens. But I ran across a couple articles lately that are demonstrative of changes to individuals’ lives.

One was in Popular Science, which lists instructions for setting up a neighborhood WLAN. It talks about someone who deliberately opened his Internet access to his neighbors, and goes on to describe the type of neighborly sharing of local information available on this LAN.

It’s a great concept. With neighbors these days interacting more with their computers than with each other, it could be an innovative way for them to connect with one another.

Another article is on, in the popular online help column by Ron Nutter. A reader talks about trying to regulate his teenage daughter’s Internet access. He even went so far as to put the family cable modem on a timer so that it shuts off at midnight.

But of course his daughter simply uses one of the wide-open WLANs of their neighbors. (If a neighborhood network like the one described above is available, she could use that, actually.) Nutter gives him advice for limiting her access.

Some things never change – teenagers will always try to get around curfews, and neighbors will always talk about what’s going on down the block – but the technology is different, and it makes things interesting, if nothing else.

Do you have a story about how WLANs have changed the way you live? Let me know.