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Thursday
Nov162017

Wi-Fi Linux Server in a Lightbulb? Is the Internet-of-Things getting ridiculous?

I just recently moved from a house in a suburban neighborhood to an apartment block in a more built-up area. One thing that has driven me crazy about this is that Wi-Fi is basically no longer usable. There are about 40 near-full-strength Wi-Fi networks in range now, where before I could see only my own and my closest neighbor’s (and that one was very weak). Some of my new neighbor’s access points are set up for wide-band, so they hog two channels. From scanning the area with NetSpot, it looks like some of the neighbors know enough to disable wide-band and maybe move to a non-default channel, but most are on default settings. In my case even moving to a non-default channel doesn’t improve the situation much. I have both 2.4GHz and 5GHz band access points, but there are many other networks in range that cover both these bands.

Basically, unless I build a Faraday cage inside my apartment, I’m out-of-luck. I’ve had to run Ethernet to everything that has a physical port. Even my wireless/Bluetooth mice don’t work well in this soup of competing radios.

And then this week I saw this:

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/11/the-internet-of-lightbulbs-lunera-turns-lighting-into-ambient-cloud-for-iot/

It looks like it’s a Raspberry Pi inside a lightbulb, a full Wi-Fi enabled Linux server, which seems excessive. I hope the intended use case for these is large commercial property and not residential…

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