Wireless networking had me at B. In fact, I’ve still got the Microsoft MN-500 802.11b wireless router that I tested in 2003, my first foray into Wi-Fi. I don’t use the MN-500 anymore—I’ve since moved on to 802.11g (several models from Linksys) and then the latest draft N routers from Netgear and Buffalo. Along the way, I’ve played with digital media receivers, IP video cameras, and even a Wi-Fi router for dial-up connections (not such great idea.) It hasn’t all been fun and games, however: The effort to extend my Wi-Fi signal from one house to another using an assortment of antennas, range extenders, and a signal booster was an exercise in frustration. (The signal booster finally did the trick).
I gained all this experience testing Wi-Fi products as editor and editor in chief of Computer Shopper magazine and ComputerShopper.com, where I spent almost 10 years writing and editing reviews of PCs, peripherals, hardware, and software. Over the years, I developed an almost obsessive interest in Wi-Fi networking, mainly because I immediately understood that it was a truly disruptive technology. (And I admit that I tend to be fascinated with technology that is not immediately easy to understand.)
In this blog, I’ll cover new Wi-Fi technologies for the home and home office. Of course, I’ll focus on the basics—routers—but don’t be surprised to see posts on entertainment and home servers (HP’s MediaSmart Server is an awesome piece of technology that is hobbled only by its price). I’ll also touch on other types of networking like power-line, which can be a great alternative for some types of users or those who just need to bring the network to a part of the house where Wi-Fi simply won’t go. And because wireless networking can often be inscrutable, I’ll throw in user tips, too.
Let me know what you like, what you don’t like, and what you’d like Wi-Fi (and this blog) to do for you.