Niklas B considered himself lucky. His dormitory at West Thomson-Friedman* University (also known as WTFU) was the first selected to participate in the campus-wide Wi-Fi Initiative. This meant that he'd be able to take his laptop and work in the more-comfortable areas of the building instead of staying cramped up in his room. Of course, like everything else at WTFU, the Wi-Fi Initiative didn't quite work like one might expect. Connecting to the wireless network required tilting one's laptop to a randomly-changing angle, waiting until the solar azimuth and winds were just right, and not only crossing one's fingers on both hands, but crossing the arms over each other as well. It was a bit inconvenient to say the least.

Achieving such low wireless performance is not an easy task, especially when using the commercial-grade wireless equipment that WTFU purchased. Finding a proprietary wireless authentication application that manages to freeze any computer unlucky enough to drop the wireless signal is an even bigger challenge. Thankfully, the cleverness of WTFU's IT department knows no bounds. They found the perfect location for the dormitory's high-powered wireless router: the basement kitchen.

It may not be clear from the picture, but that particular corner hosts six microwaves, a freezer, a refrigerator, and, of course, the router. The rest of the room is chock full of electrical appliances from a sandwich maker to a blender. Granted, the router is able to cope with electrical noise from the appliances, but its signal loses heftily to the 2.4Ghz-radition spewed from a single microwave. The fact that there are six of them should give you a good idea of just how popular the microwaves are.

Niklas B mentioned this problem quite a few times and they eventually moved the router to the other side of the wall, a full eighteen inches through an open door from its previous location. Obviously, that doesn't help in the least with the connectivity problem, but it did solve one other. Before the move, the six microwaves, freezer, refrigerator, and wireless router were all on the same circuit. Since the breaker trips several times a week (imagine that!), the router would get taken offline with everything else. The good news is that, now, they have a good hour or two of wireless connectivity before maintenance comes to open the breaker.


* For the obvious impaired: name changed to protected the guilty

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