9.3 Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

In about a week, I had an omnidirectional antenna installed on the roof, and 25 feet of LMR-200 running down to our access point. Why did I use 25 feet of cable that loses almost 17db of signal every hundred feet? And why did I use an omni, when a tight sector or patch antenna would have made more sense? Because in early 2000, without any prior background in radio, I went with what our vendor had to offer: a 25 foot run of so-called "low-loss" microwave antenna cable, and an expensive omnidirectional popsicle stick (after all, if Lucent made the gear, it must be compatible with a Lucent access point, right?).

Luckily for me, even with the high line loss, the omni managed to do the job. That afternoon, I walked across the street, ordered an iced mocha, and merrily typed out the confirmation email. As I hit Ctrl-X Y, I was compelled to meditate on that inevitable question, "What next?" If it was possible to get a good signal about 1,500 feet from the AP, how feasible would it be to provide wireless access to our local employees? After all, many of our people live in the area and were using dialup to access our network from home. Would it be possible to provide a fast wireless connection to anyone who was within range? Just how far could this technology be stretched?