Wireless technology will explode this year. By Christmas the stores will be full of wireless accessories for computers and home networking, as well as specialized devices that use a wireless connection to a computer or another device to do something interesting. The standards are solid, the prices are coming down, and manufacturers are finalizing products left and right.

I was full of optimism when I went today to set up a simple wireless home network. Two computers, a broadband connection, a Linksys wireless access point and PCI cards (with latest drivers and firmware) – all straightforward, all easy to set up. A distance of fifty feet between the two computers, through a few walls in a house.

And would it work? Nah. Not for any complicated reason – the setup really was extremely easy and straightforward. No, the reason was that the signal just wasn’t strong enough to reach fifty feet, through some walls.

Now I know it would have been possible to get another access point to boost the signal, but at that point the equipment costs are out of sight for a project that can also be handled by a fifty dollar cable.

I’m disappointed. If I can’t get a signal from a living room to a bedroom, then this technology isn’t ready yet.

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