I had to try out the Town’s new wi-fi service…After all, I’ve been waiting for public wireless in Chapel Hill for over five years now, and I just had to check out the service…
I went to Four Eleven West on West Franklin Street with my buddy, Greg Jansen, and we parked ourselves at the front bar in the five o’clock hour. We were easily able to log on to the ‘TownOfCH’ network node, and the speed worked fine…at times. Here’s the scouting report:
Blue Ribbon Features
1.) Great effort – The bar manager was great. I do think that the bartender was a little surprised that we were posted up at the bar. However, the bar was a great post-up spot due to location of the televisions, strength of the chairs, and enough space on the countertops.
2.) Great Lighting – Any one who has ever stopped in at Four Eleven knows how great of a space the restaurant has with the natural lighting, which is a huge benefit for public wireless activity.
Sweaty Sock Features
1.) Low Signal – Someone needs to give a hand on the installation. We used the service for two solid hours. The first hour was good. Yet, when the light dimmed due to overcast skies and eerily when the dinner crowd appeared, the signal faded and we had slow online access.
The manager who was very cool and cordial…(He landed the major info nugget by naming the Geico Caveman song.) He stated that the wireless node is located on the roof. The question that we had is how would anyone install a wireless node on the roof with all of the brick and metal in the location…Hey, if you’re a tech guru, or you have wireless node installation skills and expertise in the local area, help out the town and Four Eleven West and move the node.
2.) No Outlets – Tough for laptop activity, and hell…Tough if I wanted to get a quick charge of a laptop or a PDA or phone during the lunch hour and a dinner meal. The only outlet is covered by metal in the front of the building, which I’m assuming is for fire code purposes.
If they ever install one or two outlets in the bar area for charging, they’ll get a ‘wham-bango’ rating in my book.
All said and done, I give the town and Four Eleven West major credit for installing a public access node for the building and Four Eleven customers.
The funny thing is that they had their own wireless access in the building for a while now. Yet, the town’s node was much stronger, which should provide more incentive to provide the node and install more around town.
Four Eleven West always has been and is the major spot to chill on Franklin Street, be seen with the in-crowd and to see who is in town. With wireless access, there’s another reason why their space is one of the better and more classier places in the Triangle to chill, especially, for ball games with their quality screens at the bar.
Now, if the town can get the West End Wine Bar on with access, the town’s effort for installing wireless will be on a whole other level. Yet, my boys have beaten them to the punch. The West End activated their own two years ago…They’re way ahead of the game there.