I'm currently en route from Seattle to San Jose for the INT Media 802.11 Planet conference which runs Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I'm assuming - praying given the conference title - that I'll have unimpeded 802.11b access during the conference, at which I'm on one panel and moderating another. I hope to "web log" live at the event, so watch this spot for updates.
I arrived at Seatac over two hours before my short flight (which will last just 2 hours 5 minutes), and spent just 30 minutes in a brisk, professionally run security line. Very heartening. Seatac has Wayport comprehensive coverage and MobileStar in the American Airlines Admirals Club. I have a MobileStar account (which they continue to charge throughout this whole layoff/bankruptcy period), and so find myself in a comfortable chair near the entrance to the club. I get two to three bars of access on my Apple iBook, which is more than enough to handle email and Web.
I spoke (blogged) too soon: MobileStar kept picking up and dropping off at two bars. It's odd how with me just sitting there that service would change. The access point is up a flight of stairs, so I was lucky to get anything, I suppose. I selected Wayport's network, paid $6.95 for 24 hours access (I'll be flying through San Jose, so can use it on arrival, too), and am having no difficulties. This re-emphasizes to me the importance of roaming.
I again spoke too soon (3.37 pm): I misread Wayport's fine print. Paying for a day's access is by location, not nationwide. Rats. I decided against paying another $6.95 while waiting in San Jose despite the perfect signal in the baggage claim. Now I regret it. I'm in my hotel. No Wi-Fi in sight (or site). I'm next to the Santa Clara Convention Center, so I'm bit out in the middle of nowhere (in some sense).
The Westin here has CAIS wired access (won't work with my Mac despite link lights and the Mac's totally standard and Windows-compatible TCP/IP stack and DHCP id configuration). Their tech support phone number is constantly busy. Dial-up is ok, but $2.00/call (up to 60 min.) for 800/877/888; $1.50/call (up to 60 minutes) for local calls. When will hotels wake up? Increased usage comes from lower rates.
But I would bet they have the financial models to negate that. I'm using my cell phone (which I guess more and more business travellers do), so the poor suckers who have to use dial-up are probably fewer. This is the only time I've wanted cell packet data (2G through 3G) in all my travels.