Posts Tagged ‘ISP’

Wi-Fi In the Sky

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

When I boarded my Southwest flight tonight, I saw something curious. “Southwest Wi-Fi Hotspot”. I had heard of airlines experimenting with wi-fi, but hadn’t flown since they started. Apparently Southwest is one of the airlines testing the service out.

When I sat down there was another advertisement on the tray in front of me. I fished around for more authentication and was rewarded with an instruction list. It mentioned when we could connect, stated the experimental price range, and gave basice advice on how to connect and what to do if connection failed. Interestingly enough, the flight attendant kept saying that cell phones are now no longer allowed at all, even in airplane mode. The instruction sheet didn’t say that. It said that devices without wi-fi were stuck playing games in airplane mode. I wonder if the guy read the sheet. Anyway, I was planning to get online with my netbook, so I didn’t need to worry about whether or not he was wrong.

At this point I was pretty stoked. I thought it would be fun to blog from the air. Alas, it was not to be. I decided to get one last confirmation that I was allowed to connect when the flight attendant came by for my drink order. He noticed the instruction sheet and kindly informed me that the network hadn’t worked on the flight in, and he didn’t expect it to work for me. He asked me to let him know if I got it to work. I couldn’t.

There are two basic reasons I imagine it didn’t work. The first has to do with the little note on the instruction sheet stating that once the devices are supposed to be turned off again, the wi-fi would shut down. This makes me wonder if it is stuck on shutdown mode…that or there is some related problem. The second thing I thought of had to do with basic wireless router setup. When setting up a typical router, one has a choice to hide the SSID. I wonder if this setting was activated, whether on purpose or accident. This would explain my inability to find any networks available.

Since I couldn’t actually blog from the air, I decided to do the next best thing. I am typing the blog from the air. I don’t know when I will be flying again, maybe not until Christmas. Hopefully that airline has wi-fi so I can test this feature again. Until then, I will keep blogging from the ground.