Wireless phone + airport express = chaos!

While conducting a bit of research tonight, I decided to fire up iTunes to stream an Internet radio station to my home stereo. Just as I was getting into a song by Stereolith, the phone rang, and my airtunes audio stream died. I chatted on the phone for 5 – 10 minutes before it dawned on me that my cordless phone may caused my stream to drop. I immediately told my friend I had to go (sorry dude!), and wandered off to look up the 802.11G wireless frequency bands. A quick seach revealed the following:

Channel			Lower Frequency 	Central Frequency	Upper Frequency

1			2.401			2.412			2.423
2			2.404			2.417			2.428
3			2.411			2.422			2.433
4			2.416			2.427			2.438
5			2.421			2.432			2.443
6			2.426			2.437			2.448
7			2.431			2.442			2.453
8			2.436			2.447			2.458
9			2.441			2.452			2.463
10			2.446			2.457			2.468
11			2.451			2.462			2.473

Since my 802.11g wireless network and cordless phone both operate in the 2.4GHZ band, I began to speculate that the interference from my cordless phone was enough to kill my poor innocent audio stream. To test this theory, I started a new stream, and called my friend back. Once the call was initiated, the Internet audio stream died. Guess it’s time to purchase a phone that operates in the 900MHZ or 5GHZ bands.

Viewing wireless networks with wigle

I heard about the wigle and restyredwagon websites sites a while back, and finally had a chance to look through their content tonight. If you haven’t heard of these nifty sites, they both contain geographic maps of 802.11 wireless networks. Since the rustyredwagon website overlays wigle data on google maps, you can click a location and get a wealth of information (e.g., SSID, Mac Address, Vendors, and a keyword indicating if WEP/WPA is utilized) on the 802.11 networks in a region. You can also view satellite photos, which adds a whole new twist to scouting out 802.11 networks ( can we call this war surfing?). These sites are fricking awesome!