Victus Spiritus


Net Fluctuations in San Jose: 64kbps to 23mbps

18 Nov 2010

Howdy eager readers and net junkies. I've traveled across the continent to hitch a cheap room with my wife, who's busy at the AMP conference in mid town San Jose.

Upon arriving in SFO I slurped up a steady 1mbps at the airport to fire off a quick and dirty post yesterday afternoon. Off to a healthy connectivity start, we proceeded to drive to San Jose. The trip from the airport to our hotel only took 25 minutes, which was faster than we expected.

The problems began at the Fairmont after check in. There's no free wifi to hotel residents. The cost is $14/night which is rather steep for a few million bits. The hotel staff was friendly and keyed us into the fact that president club members get free wifi, and that there was no additional fee to join the club. We eagerly signed up and in the meantime the fee would be added to our hotel room charges, and waived after the paperwork cleared.

After connecting for the first time from the room, I was slack jawed at the terribad speed. I was getting a fluctuating 0-300kbps down, and 0-60kbps up. I thought there was something wrong with the system and talked to reps at the front desk. They suggested a direct Ethernet jack into the wall would be similar speeds but I find this hard to believe. I'll test this out later after I pick up a connector from my MacBook air to ethernet plug (usb -> cat5/6?). *Update* with the usb to cat6, and cat6 combo I'm getting 39mbps down, and 36mbps up. This is officially the fastes internet I've ever had. From terribad to fastest all in a day, California sure does like its dichotomies.

Bummed, I traveled around town looking for a 7-11 to drown my sleep deprived sorrows in Redbull and diet pepsi. Only 14 blocks away from the hotel I scored a sevs. While random walking the area like a hammerhead shark hunting for food, I hit on a couple of other wifi spots.

The AMP conference has open wifi for conference attendees *cough* and it's much stronger than my hotel room. The up and downrate is 1-5 Mbps, more than adequate for my needs*.

Another great node was "downtown public wifi" near the Adobe headquarters. On that public node I was getting 2mbps down and 1mbps up. Not bad for free public wifi, but I didn't have a place to camp out and work unless you count the Adobe waiting lounge. I tried to poke around, the crack security at Adobe wouldn't let me in without a contact and they were friendly about it "get out of here wifi squatting hobo" would have been appropriate ;).

Finally this morning on the lounge area of the Fairmont hotel I tried out my phone. Whammo, I was getting 7mbps down and 2mbps up. Holy crap, this is precisely what I was hoping for. I whipped out the MacBook Air and was cruising in moments at 23mbps down and up! Now I was cooking with connectivity. If only the wifi in our room was so smooth. At least I have a place to connect later if needed.

*= Today I'm installing code and reading docs on why the dm-migrations gem is choking on a native do_postgres build on Mac OS x (I one click installed Postgres on this system) to support a sinatra/dm app. After that I'll get down and dirty with a couch pubsub app based on couchpubtato and rocking chair. Finally, I'd like to jam out on World of Warcraft with my friends Eli and Paul before meeting my wife for dinner.