October 16, 2008 9:31 PM

My apartment is long and thin. Living areas at one end. Study at the other. Kitchen is in the middle. Thick walls and white goods seem happy to soak up any signal I try to pass from one end of the apartment to the other. On top of that, overlooking the city seems to mean being bombarded by everybody's radio interference.

The upshot of all this, getting WiFi to cover my entire apartment has been a constant battle, one that I've had to solve with no less than five different wireless devices creating three different networks, two in the 2.4GHz band and one up in heady 5GHz-land. Even with all these electromagnetic waves slowly frying Donna’s and my brains, the signal is still pretty dodgy on occasion.

Tonight we were walking home across the harbour bridge and Donna challenged me to look up the origin of the term “Dorothy Dixer”, Australian political slang for a pre-arranged softball question from one minister to another from the same party. I pulled out my iPhone, and had got the answer from Google before I thought “Hey, wait a minute. Why does the phone say I'm on WiFi when I should be on 3G?”

Lo and behold, I checked my settings and I was connected to one of my own 802.11g networks. A few more metres walking down the bridge and I was back on 3G, the magical line-of-sight to my router broken by the Western corner of my apartment block.


So, in summary:

Places my WiFi signal can not reach: five metres away at the other end of my own apartment.

Places my WiFi signal can reach: three quarters of the way across the sodding harbour bridge.

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