A bridge too far...


"A bridge too far" is one of my all time favourite movie. If you'd search for the same, the google snippet would say,

"A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 epic war film based on the 1974 book of the same name by Cornelius Ryan, adapted by William Goldman. It was produced by Joseph E. Levine and Richard P. Levine and directed by Richard Attenborough."

Star studded film with likes of Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins and Michael Caine, it tells the story of a failed attempt to capture an important German bridge during World War II at great cost to allied forces. All across Rhine, there were numerous important bridges, which needed to be occupied in order to corner the German Army and thousands of lives were lost in capturing them. This movie is story of one of such attempt.

Almost, last two days of mine has been spent in building another kind of bridge, a wireless bridge.

Providence has a hand in myself owning 3 wireless routers. So I decided to try bridging two of them,to experiment how much difference does it make to internet connectivity at my home. Though the current residence of mine is small and probably does not require two routers but due to walls and access point not being in the line of sight, the signal which I receive at the m/c is feeble.

Another compounding reason is that when I am paying for a 16Mbps pipe, money goes into vain, if my m/c is not being able to receive data at that speed because of fault in last mile networking mechanism.

So I tried to make a wireless bridge. One of the router would be placed next to my m/c on the desk, which would bridge with another router placed in a different room, connected with the fibre.

Little did I know, that it would be such an excruciating task.

There is nothing novel in basic home routing techniques these days, it has become a commodity. The standards are all the same. Everyone knows what these devices are supposed to do and they all work on a pre-defined protocol.

There is nothing proprietary in them and probably that is reflected in their price. You can pick a basic home router for less than Rs.1000 now-a-days.

Then, why the interface has to be so complicated and different. This when every ISP also works on a pre-defined standard. Everything is standardised in internet and that is why it is so coherent.

Go to 192.168.1.1 on your web-browser after connecting to your router and I would bet Rs.10,000 that you cannot figure out the settings unless you are helped by someone from the ISP end.

So when hardware becomes commodity, the only way you can differentiate is software, because you need something to give to your marketing guys to sell. If hardware is commodity and software is rudimentary, the product becomes commodity too and company is doomed.

India is moving towards 250 million internet connection and a city like Pune and Bangalore, most of the homes are gearing towards having a router and there is a pressing need to make things simpler.

What if you have two different home routers of same standards, you do a firmware update and both of them have the same interface and can talk to each other easily.

Companies like Facebook and Google have this capability to build their own switches and routers. It would be great, if one of them gets a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software )firmware which makes two routers of different make, of same standard, talk to each other seamlessly.

Till then, I would continue to work on building my bridge. Currently, it seems too far.

PS-
a) In a few years, people would gather together and build a revolution for "Right to connect to internet"

b) If anyone of you have built a wireless bridge, please do help me out with mine. I would sponsor beer for you. 


c) Also, I would update here, if I am able to make the bridge.

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