Wireless

Wireless / Most Commented

Models for Muni WiFi Completely Neglect Technology Evolution

Modern travel means interminable waits, but it's a good time for reading. I finally read Wireless Pittsburgh: Sustainability of Possible Models for a Wireless Metropolitan-Area Network by Jon M. Peha, published in February as a working paper of the New America Foundation. The good news: it's full of interesting cost estimates and projected subscriber take rates based on specific demographics in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and Philadelphia... The flaws in this study...
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Gaping Hole in Models for Using Spectrum Efficiently

In February, the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis published three studies (1, 2, 3) on spectrum licensing and spectrum utilization. Thanks to Nick Ruark for pointing them out... Reading on I was struck by a gaping hole in their assumptions. more

Google and the White Spaces

The white spaces proceeding is the next big opportunity for experiments in alternative ways of providing wireless highspeed internet access... A key advantage of unlicensed spectrum is that experiments in new technology can be carried out without asking the permission of spectrum licensees. To date, we have made very little spectrum available for unlicensed use and experimentation. The FCC has the discretion to decide whether the digital television "white spaces" may be used on an unlicensed basis... more

Google’s Gigabit Gambit

Want a gig (1000 megabits per second) of Internet access bandwidth? Google says you could have it by the end of next year "from Manhattan to rural North Dakota (sic, I think they meant Vermont)" if their proposal to the FCC is accepted forthwith according to CNET's newsblog. Not only a gig but a mobile gig, accessible by cellphone or roaming computer -- no fiber required. Sound too good to be true? -- it isn't, IMHO! Engineering is not the problem... more

700 MHz Auction Winners: Why Block C Matters

Today the FCC announced the winners of the 700 MHz auction -- and you can see from pp. 62-63 of this document that Verizon won Block C. (Block C was set up in two nationwide paired blocks of 11 MHz each, which were auctioned off in very large geographic areas -- 12 licenses, each covering a "Regional Economic Area Grouping". Verizon won seven of the twelve licenses, covering all of the US except Alaska, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.) Why does this matter? more

Broadband Access: What Should We Regulate?

Network Neutrality is a hot topic in the US. The FCC held hearings in my neighborhood recently (while I was in Asia). Now I see Professor Susan Crawford will be testifying next Tuesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Net Neutrality and the First Amendment." I look forward to her remarks, but I worry that the whole discussion will be focused on "IP Pipes," that is connectivity at network layer 3. This distracts us from the fundamental problem... more

iPhone, Android, 700 MHz: What Maximizes Wireless Innovation?

At the Emerging Communications Conference eComm 2008, I'm moderating a panel "Wireless Innovation, with or without operators." This will be a discussion -- smart people from differing camps responding to (hopefully) probing questions from yours truly, and the audience. Points of view represented include Google Android, J2ME/JavaFX Mobile, iPhoneWebDev.com, Skype and Trolltech Qtopia (Nokia), plus Chris Sacca, formerly head of Google's wireless initiatives. I've been thinking about subjects and questions for the panel. As a start, I'll set down my current views, then seek others' views and questions. more

Will 2008 be the WiMAX Year?

There has recently been some good and bad news about WiMAX. On the good news part, an announcement made by the WiMAX Forum this month regarding the launching of the Mobile WiMAX certification program through which vendors can get their IEEE 802.16e-2005 equipment tested and possibly certified... On the bad news part, there was the Sprint-Clearwire breakup after three months of announcing a plan to join forces in building a nationwide WiMAX network in the US. Although it is anticipated that each company would carry on with its own WiMAX plans, analysts believe that the breakup would have negative impact on WiMAX deployment in the US... more

Verizon OPEN Wireless

Very surprising and welcome announcement from Verizon Wireless yesterday announcing that "it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company. Verizon Wireless plans to have this new choice available to customers throughout the country by the end of 2008..." And Verizon Wireless is right to open up. There's plenty of room to be cynical about this; after all, Verizon Wireless is trying to STOP the FCC from putting an openness requirement on the 700Mhz spectrum to be auctioned... more

Making the Wireless World More Web-Friendly

Your wireless carrier (in the U.S., probably AT&T or Verizon Wireless) has a lot of control over the handset you can use and the applications that can run on that device. In fact, wireless carriers routinely ask for (and get) an enormous slice of the revenue from applications that work on their networks, and they force handset manufacturers to jump through all kinds of hoops in order to be allowed to sell devices that can connect to these networks... This has had bad effects on the ecosystem of the wireless world. more

White Space in the Great White North

There is growing interest in the US for the FCC to look at White Space to enable more options for broadband wireless in rural areas. What is White Space? Last weekend, the Sunday NY Times published an article about wireless services that included this description: "In many areas, not all broadcast [television] channels are in use. The unused channels are "white spaces" of high-quality spectrum that could be made available to local Internet service providers. Unlike the much higher frequency of Wi-Fi, television broadcast frequencies can travel for miles and penetrate walls, providing a much broader range for Internet service." There is a coalition of eight technology companies driving the discussion in the US... more

What Did the Bush Admin Promise the Telco’s in Early 2001?

I have a hypothesis: The Bush administration came to power in December 2000. American telcos were on the precipice about to go into Free fall. We have seen how Bush politicized the Justice Department and are much more aware thanks to John Dean's Broken Government and Charlie Savage's Take Over of the intense desire to aggregate executive power to feed the Addingtons belief in the Unitary Executive. We now know that Cheney was meeting with the energy industry in early 2001 promising them whatever they wanted. We may begin to ask what the domestic telecoms industry was being promised? more

FON and BT: Wifi Today; Mobile Tomorrow?

A deal announced today between British Telecom and upstart FON allows BT's Internet customers to share their own broadband connections via WiFi and, in turn, be able to access WiFi free at "thousands" (doesn't say how many) of FON hotspots around the world operated by other Foneros... When you buy home Internet access from BT and opt into this plan, you are also buying roaming access at no extra charge. The technology is supposed to assure that the part of the connection which you share is segregated from your own access so that there are no security problems caused by the sharing. more

Wireless Net Neutrality

To date, most of the discussion on net neutrality has dealt with the behaviour of conventional wireline ISPs. RCR Wireless News is carrying an opinion piece called "Paying for the bandwidth we consume" by Mark Desautels, VP -- Wireless Internet Development for CTIA -- the trade association for the US wireless industry. His article follows up on reports of Comcast cable moving to discontinue internet access service to so-called "bandwidth hogs"... more

Is Bandwidth Infinite? It All Depends…

On August 23 ( while I was in China) a list member Lee S. Drybrugh wrote in jest: I happened to bump into Peter Cochrane stating, "The good news is -- bandwidth is free -- and we have an infinite supply." Next by sheer accident I bumped into this in relation to Gilder, "Telecosm argues that the world is beginning to realise that bandwidth is not a scarce resource (as was once thought) but is in factinfinite." Can anyone explain this infinite bandwidth as I think I am getting ripped off by my ISP if this is true? Craig Partridge then offered what I think is a very good commentary of a difficult question where the answer depends very much on context... more