Yesterday I got an email from Russell late in the afternoon informing me that he was at the train station on his way home. I didn’t make the connection between the fact that he was sending me an email and being at the train station until this arvo when he pulled out his laptop at Central. Russell is testing wireless internet for work through the iburst network. What this means is that you can surf the net virtually anywhere in inner city Brisbane without needing to have a cable connected to anything.

Imagine sitting on the train on the way home reading the latest Paris Hilton exploit or taking the dog to the off-leash park and letting him run while you download and listen to an mp3 from fluxblog. If you want to go really wild you could even use it to look up whereis while lost in Dutton Park.

The best thing is that it isn’t crazy expensive. If you aren’t a big leecher you could probably do away with your dial-up or cable altogether. It starts at around $39.95 for 300MB or $70 for 1GB. The coverage is pretty good too. I could ride the train from Oxley to the Brisbane Airport and only lose connection in tunnels. Russell was downloading Adobe Acrobat reader at 21kbps which isn’t too shabby considering we were on a speeding train over the Brisbane river.

The only thing that stops me truly considering joining is that it requires a pcmcia slot to put the iburst modem in and my little 12″ powerbook doesn’t have any of those. But I guess normal 802.11 wireless isn’t really equipped for the kind of security that an iburst network would need.

The first time I pulled out my powerbook on the roadtrip Danielle couldn’t understand why I couldn’t surf the net with it. I mean, I surfed the net wirelessly at home, why couldn’t I do it in Coffs Harbour? I didn’t go in to the long speil about modems and wireless limitations and stuff as her eyes would start to glaze over. But maybe one day if iBurst or Telstra expand wireless technologies, we will be connected to the internet everywhere in Australia and we won’t have any excuse as to why we didn’t respond to an email. Perhaps then I will be able to achieve my ultimate goal of gaining a suntan while updating web sites for work.

Wireless internet was not something they thought about in the 50s when dreaming of the future, it’s way cooler than that. Well, maybe it’s not as cool as controlling an airplane from your office.



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