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That's pretty much my thinking. Especially considering stevenjklein's comment (above) was in response to my comment about your WiFi not only having to compete with other users at Starbucks, but with WiFi users in nearby stores as well. So you've got the 25 Starbucks users, 20 users at a frozen yogurt store next door, and 40 users at the McDonald's behind... all competing for the same WiFi frequencies. And some of those users are Kindle HD owners using multiple channels simultaneously to stream High-Def videos... so each one of those is like two (or more) regular WiFi users.

Wifi officially has 14 channels, but they overlap. In practice it's possible to use four of them with little to no interference with each other: 1, 6, 11, and 14 if you're using 802.11b or b/g, or on 802.11g and 802.11n you alternatively can do 1, 5, 9, and 13.

(802.11n with channel bonding is more demanding: use channel 3 or 11.)

So the Starbucks, frozen yogurt stand, and MickeyDee's should not be competing for bandwidth. In theory. Unfortunately, the hotspot devices aren't necessarily smart enough to automatically space themselves out nicely.

Some devices don't even know about channels above 7. Because of that and the fact that I move around a lot (live in a motorhome) I'd put my hotspot on 14... except it's one of the devices that stops at 7. (It also isn't smart enough to avoid channels already in use, if I let it pick the channel itself.)

The uplink speed from the hotspot can also be an issue. 802.11g networks can pretty easily generate a load of 34mbps; 802.11n channel-bonded networks, 200mbps. Apparently the best DSL service currently available from AT&T delivers 24mbps capacity. Cable modems go to 150mbps.

(By the way, we're spoiled. 34mbps is eight average-length novels, as ASCII text, per second. And we aren't satisfied.)
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