WiFi, Why?

Standing in the middle of Tercentenary Theater, it’s clear that Harvard not only owns plenty of the land around Cambridge, but plenty of the area’s wireless bandwidth as well. WiFi networks include the ubiquitous "Harvard University," as well as the locked  "Harvard Dean" and "Harvard Secure." Tourists and local residents can be a part of the Harvard WiFi experience, too: friendlier networks like "Harvard Help" and "Harvard Guest" are provided for those without the secret password to the university’s airwaves.

Yet walking eastward from the Yard towards the humanists’ haven that is the Barker Center, one notices that the network names become a bit more creative. Highlights from a stroll past the Barker Center include "maw" and "vegemite," but these signals have a way of disappearing just before you try to guess their undoubtedly zany passwords.

Then, just as it seems as if private networks have disappeared Prescott St. makes things interesting once more. "Mongoosekid," for instance, reigns supreme outside the Freshman Dean’s Office (perhaps Dean Dingman’s personal moniker), and a trip around the corner onto Harvard St. yields such oddities as "Battlestar," "Obergine," and "Ficktion."

Strolling away from campus down Harvard St. leads to the discovery of a veritable zoo of WiFi signals. Within the next several blocks, network names include  "porkchop," "puppy," "wolfnet," "PinkPanther" (particularly strong), "CleverMonkey," "Chinchilla," "Phoenix," "Dragons," "Camelsback," "pig," and "Clownpig."

One resident of Trowbridge St., "AverageHeight," advertises his or her stature with unabashed honesty to would-be lurkers, while a neighbor, "HotDragBabe," is a bit more sure of his (her?) exceptional looks. While some wireless network owners flaunt their physical attributes, other internet consumers announce their footwear preferences, from "sneakers" to "slippers." Some even try to show off a bit of their pop culture knowledge to neighbors, but with names like "Magical Mystery Tour," "WerewolfBarMitzvah," and "sesamestreet," they also reveal their respective ages (an educated guess: baby boomers, 20-somethings, and young parents, respectively).

One final tip: go back down Broadway towards the Harvard Art Museum. You’re not quite back in Harvard’s Signal City yet, but you know you’re getting close when this network pops up: "yalesucks."