How many bars?
What kind of question is that? If you’d asked that about our house in Atlanta, we would have said “two”—one emergency bar upstairs in the kitchen and a full-service one in our basement British pub. If you go in our kitchen here in France the answer would be “15” because that’s how many bars of pressure our espresso machine has. But today’s post has to do with a third kind of bar and how to cope with thick stone walls that keep you from them.
Our Internet service is bundled with our landline telephone and our cable TV, all of which come in through a tiny connection near the front door. At 17.99 euros a month it’s quite a bargain considering that we were paying almost 10 times that amount for a similar service in Atlanta. The house has very solid walls, almost 2 feet (60 centimeters) thick on the exterior parts. They do a great job of holding up solid wood beams (tree trunks, really) that do their part to support the heavy ceramic tile roof. Those same massive walls also block electronic signals: cell phone, radio, TV, and of course wi-fi. At the front of the house where the line enters, the signal strength is the maximum at 3 bars. By the time you reach the back of the house, that drops to one bar and often to none. What to do?
It didn’t take Bill long to find a product that I didn’t even know existed: a wi-fi extender. In fact, there are all sorts of models, sizes, producers, and prices. I guess that since we’re in the land of stone buildings there’s a big market for these tiny devices that repeat and amplify the signal. Now where there was only one bar, and sometimes none, we have 3 bars in every room in the house. I wonder how we should celebrate that?