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November 29, 2007

Nerd Help Needed – WiFi at JetBlue JFK

There’s supposed to be free WiFi here at the JetBlue JFK terminal. Last time I was here no one could get it to work so I didn’t feel bad that it didn’t work for me either; was even a little smug that I could limp by on EVDO (which is usually fine in US terminals but has bad reception here). But now everyone else is connected.

I can see the hotspot: everyone who is on is telling me to use the one called “default” rather that the one called “Jet Blue hot spot” – that one is an ad hoc network so I don’t really want to use it. Default is infrastructure even though it has that ugly name.

I can connect to default. It gives me an IP address so my system thinks it has an Internet connection. But, whenever I try to access the Internet, I get a message that the page isn’t found as if didn’t have a connection.

Those who are successfully logged on (I hate them!) are telling me I have to open a browser to agree to the terms of service. I know that; but, when I open the browser, it tells me I’m probably not connected to the Internet rather than giving me the JetBlue logon screen.

I had no problem logging onto WiFi in Burlington airport this morning (free and terminal wide!). So what’s going on?

When I look at ipconfig (this is obviously a nerd post), I see my connection but no dns server. Hmmm… Why? Did I change some sensitive parameter and forget to change it back.

Logging on with EVDO works – just slow.

Just for the heck of it, I delete the profile for default in Intel Proset Wireless. Now I tell WiFi to look for networks and it finds default and presumably sets up a profile for it. I connect. And I can still get to the Internet. But I’m also connected to EVDO; maybe my packets are going through there. Logoff EVDO; still connected and can get web pages starting with JetBlue signon.

But did the WiFi connection inherit something from the EVDO connection? I power off the EVDO card and am going to try disconnecting and reconnecting the WiFi. Pause. Breathe deeply. Reconnected without incident (my flite’s still scheduled on time, too).

This does NOT convince me I know what’s going on or will get connected next time Do know (and this post will help me remember) to use default rather than Jet Blue hotspot (not good implementation by JetBlue). Do know that I have to start the browser to logon before getting any other connectivity (usually the case but something that has hindered the deployment of WiFi phones).

Would welcome a comment from someone who really knows what’s going on. BTW, am running Windows XP with latest mods on Toughbook with internal WiFi.

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