The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Wifi in the Developing World (Just Add Electricity)

Posted by Deliverator on January 24th, 2007

Went down to Yelapa today on a Catamaran run by Vallarta Adventures. Had a fun time despite having taken the same trip before. Their script for their entertainment routine seems to be unchanged since last I took the boat down to Yelapa 3-4 years ago, but enjoyed it anyways, most likely due to hazy memories. Yelapa remains much as I remember it, but a couple of significant changes have taken place. Yelapa is still the same ramshackle, haphazard assemblage of homes to 1000-1500 people and can still only be reached by boat (almost exclusively booze cruizes like we went on). Since I was last there, a 30 mile power cable has been run from (I think) Tepic. This is a really impressive feat in my mind, given the incredible density of the jungle in the steep hills around Yelapa. Prior to this cable being run, the only power in town was courtesy of a generator at The Hotel, which they shut off every night at around 10pm.

With power has come a fair number of dishes around town and at least two internet cafes. I was originally thinking these might be serviced by VSAT, until I noticed a couple horizontally oriented dishes pointed at an island just visible on the horizon. I seems like the town may now be serviced by some sort of microwave relay system. It definitely didnt appear to be 802.11ish in nature according to kismet on my Nokia N800.

In other news, I have been filling up my camera cards faster than I can believe, even accounting for a lot of proactive culling throughout the day. I have been uploading pictures via FTP using a free wifi connection at The Coffee Cup nearby my hotel in Puerto Vallarta. The connection is kinda slow by Seattle standards, but is much better than at any of the other cafes that I have found, in part because it is free and in part because they use WPA and rotate their keys quite often. There is nobody mooching their connection thanks to insecure WEP keys used by other places I have found.