Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Linksys-Area Network

There are very few open access points nowadays compared to 4-5 years ago when I last used a mobile WiFi setup.

But I've noticed that there are still quite a few "linksys" SSID's out there.

And... for some reason... my Linksys router seems to be able to connect to them not matter how bad the signal quality is! I've been in neighborhoods where there are perfectly good free networks or open access points with great signal strength, but I can't associate with them. But there's a "linksys" way down in the noise floor, and no matter how crappy the signal is, my Linksys WRT54G will connect to it every time, no problem.

From a technical standpoint, based on what I know about radio, WiFi, and networking, I can't imagine any way that this could be happening. Signal is signal. But yet, my experience leads me to suspect that Linksys/Cisco is doing something different enough so that it's easier for their radios to connect to other radios of the same brand, than to any other brand.

Very very odd. I guess I'd have to actually look at the waveforms with a spectrum analyzer or oscope in order to see if any thing weird is going on. But for now, no matter where I am, I'm part of the Linksys Area Network, which seems to have nodes everywhere.

1 comment:

Walden on Wheels said...

This is silly. I'm sitting in a public park on the ocean, at least a half-mile from the nearest house or business, and guess what? I'm picking up plenty of WiFi signal anyway, none of which I can connect to, except for a linksys box with a signal of only -95db with a noise floor of -99db, but to which I connected with no problems!

Crazy. I'm now convinced that Linksys is doing something weird with their radios, that allows them to connect to each other more easily than to anything else.