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Posting from the bus - Journal of Omnifarious

May. 26th, 2006

07:21 am - Posting from the bus

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The Seattle bus system (King County Metro) has been testing out wireless on some busses. One line the test runs on is the 48, and I'm taking that to an appointment this morning.

The ping times are atrocious:

134 packets transmitted, 129 packets received, 3% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 372.585/2183.240/27040.870/4022.968 ms
but I think throughput is much higher. I suspect they're using satellite Internet to make it work. It's OK for browsing, but awful for an interactive terminal session.

But, in general it's pretty fun to be on the Internet from a city bus. :-) If I weren't spending so much time playing with the new toy, I could've used it to get a bunch of stuff done on my way to my appointment.

Current Location: On a Seattle city bus
Current Mood: [mood icon] cheerful

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:kosmo
Date:May 26th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
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New Toy?
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[User Picture]
From:omnifarious
Date:May 26th, 2006 04:50 pm (UTC)

Not really new exactly

(Link)

Just novel. The ability to log on the Internet from a city bus. I've had a Mac with a wifi card ever since I moved to Seattle. :-)

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[User Picture]
From:lumiere
Date:May 26th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
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They're using Junxion boxes, which a WiFi access point with a cellular data service such as Sprint's 1xEV-DO or Cingular's UMTS.
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From:hattifattener
Date:May 26th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
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Good link ... that's what I'd heard (that they were using Junxion boxes), but it's nice to see info from an actual source (as opposed to water-cooler gossip).

The fact that there's an outlier low-latency ping (okay, 370ms isn't exactly low latency, but it's better than the average 2sec or max half-minute(!)) makes me wonder if it's congestion, rather than "real" latency. I guess you could run something like pathchar to see. (Hey, I ride the 48 sometimes, I could run something like pathchar...)

Of course, as the bus hands off among cells, the path characteristcs probably vary widely.
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[User Picture]
From:lumiere
Date:May 30th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
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You're sharing the Junxion box with the other riders and the Junxion box is sharing the cell with other cellular devices. Both are liable to see interference as well as congestion, and both presumably have a backoff and retry protocol as part of the radio protocol.

If you have a wireless data plan yourself, you'll often get better service through it directly as that drops one of the sharing points.
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[User Picture]
From:omnifarious
Date:May 27th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC)
(Link)

Thanks for the link. I hunted for something like that before, but couldn't find it.

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[User Picture]
From:lumiere
Date:May 30th, 2006 08:24 pm (UTC)
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You're welcome.
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[User Picture]
From:klicrai
Date:June 1st, 2006 08:58 am (UTC)
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Sounds nifty! I hope they expand the program. In my opinion the more net access, the better. Now if only we can convince Seattle to set up something similar as a utility...

*hugs*
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