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Outdoor internet connectivity: Addressing the lack of outdoor networking

In the ever-changing fight to bring connectivity to our daily lives, there remains a solid disconnect between our indoor networks and how we treat the internet when we step outside our front door.

For many, private home internet use is approached with zest and zeal. Pushing connectivity into every room in one's home is as common as can be, and the internet itself hosts discussion after discussion and article after article of ways to bring a home into the 21st century through networking solutions. The concept of the Internet of Things revolves around this concept, relying heavily on networking up every component in a home that can accept an internet connection.

Yet at the same time there is an odd shying away from taking this connectivity outside of the realm of living rooms and bedrooms, as if the outer reaches of yards, gardens or even garages can't benefit from having an active connection.

Granted, there is a solid precedent for this problem in the form of solving wireless communication issues that have plagued us since wireless internet connectivity became an option. It can be hard enough to set up a home network that provides indoor signals strong enough to be used home-wide, let alone setting up a system that reaches outdoors, but options are available and aren't as unusual as one might think, which opens up a world of outdoor connectivity that could bring about tangible improvement to our daily lives.

Home security often revolves around closed-circuit cameras and wireless monitoring, but this can be taken a step further and adapted into wireless doorbells with built-in cameras that offer a mixture of security and convenience, though many of these same features can be achieved through a home network of security cameras, albeit at a much higher cost.

cameras linked to a wireless hub and how the advent of cloud storage has taken a step towards removing one of the most unfortunate flaws in security through physical removal of storage devices. Yes, there is always the threat that your cameras may be spotted and removed, but that doesn't stop their information from being uploaded to a server that can't simply be carted off.

Yet outdoor improvements through networking don't have to revolve solely around security. Sometimes a simple quality of life improvement can boost how you feel about outdoor spaces or make better utilisation of your time, as is the case with outdoor smart lighting or wireless speakers for the sake of entertainment and ease of finding your way around after dark.

Range repeaters and even powerline adaptors offer methods of taking the internet into a realm that it has sorely neglected for a few years too many, but excuses for avoiding an outdoor-friendly network mostly revolve around the price of investment at this point in time. Mesh Wi-Fi systems are still relatively new and their price point reflects that, hampering many potential users from investment. Remote users may have difficulty finding a signal over anything but their cell phone's wireless plan which is oft woefully underpowered when it comes to handling extensive outdoor networks, which then lends credence to investing in NBN plans to make up for mobile plan shortcomings.

With any luck one can hope that an outdoor IoT approach can lead to wider adoption of technologies and gadgets that broadcast information for the good of all. The slow advent of smart cities might be spurred along if more of their inhabitants adapted and joined the wider world of connectivity to take advantage of existing technologies; Smart weather tracking and reporting is but the smallest of helpful uses for real-time data collection when compared to examples like Kansas City's live reporting of traffic, both consisting of vehicles and pedestrians, to help its citizens judge ideal travel times and the accessibility of public parking.

Stepping into a future where outdoor spaces are as connected as the indoors isn't an overnight dream, however, requiring a hint of dedication and mindfulness towards how helpful connectivity can truly be. For some, it takes a bit of imagination to figure out just how to make an outdoor network helpful for something beyond watching Netflix by the pool, yet for others it's just another extension of a digital lifestyle that is creeping into the public eye. Early adoption isn't always cheap or easy; Sometimes you have to take leaps of faith to show others just how productive and useful your dreams truly are.

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