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Wireless Networking Hardware

Space Needle To Become WiMax Antenna 219

Posted by Zonk
from the your-landmarks-at-work dept.
Technofusion writes "Seattle, Washington has found a new use for their aging Space Needle. Three companies have teamed up to turn the Space Needle into a giant WiMAX antenna. Bruce Chatterley, CEO of Speakeasy, announced it will be the biggest deployment of it's kind in North America with six towers, one placed on the Space Needle and five others around the city , beaming a signal over a 5 square mile area. Don't put away those 802.11b/g cards just yet, as WiMAX is projected to cost $500 a month for 1.5Mb service."
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Space Needle To Become WiMax Antenna

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  • by bfizzle (836992) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:50AM (#12441311)
    Does anyone know if any other communication devices are mounted on top the space needle?
  • by robyannetta (820243) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:52AM (#12441320) Homepage
    That's a rather large fee just to read Slashdot while stuck in traffic.

    Oh, it's Slashdot. It's worth it.

  • It costs how much? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by raider_red (156642) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:52AM (#12441324) Journal
    In Seattle, there's probably enough coffee shops to blanket the entire city with wi-fi. Who do they think is actually going to pay those rates?
    • by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:00AM (#12441415) Journal
      Tea-drinkers
    • by zakezuke (229119)
      In Seattle, there's probably enough coffee shops to blanket the entire city with wi-fi. Who do they think is actually going to pay those rates?

      Businesses in the industrial area that are in line of site of the space needle? Those towers on the Space Needle side of Capital Hill? Or how about those coffee shops that provide wifi access them selves.

      • Why don't they just get DSL? Even a symmetrical line is cheaper than $500/month, especially in a large city.
        • Why don't they just get DSL? Even a symmetrical line is cheaper than $500/month, especially in a large city.

          Last time I checked the price range for SDSL 1.5/1.5 was there and abouts of $250/month or so, so you are correct SDSL would be about 1/2 the price. Nice option if you are lucky enough to be able to get SDSL. There are many dead zones between COs and some areas within a 5 mile radius of the Space Needle that you simply can't get anything above and beyond 192K SDSL. Not to speak of database erro
    • I live near Seattle, and whenever I'm there, I crack out the laptop with the WiFi card to do a little hunting for wide-open access points. There are so many of them it's not even funny - there's no need to pay for Internet service in Seattle; just mooch off of some unsuspec-- er, I mean, gracious bandwidth donor! ;-)

      Once, I even managed to check my e-mail while moving south on I-5. (Traffic was really bad, and no, I wasn't at the wheel...)
    • by MrLizardo (264289)
      Maybe they think that the coffee shops trying to blanket the city in wifi will use this as a backbone to provide Internet access for their wifi hotspots. Less expensive and less of a hassle than getting a T1 line run. Also it has provisions for increasing bandwidth without needing to upgrade equipment.
  • Giant Antenna, NOT (Score:5, Informative)

    by lildogie (54998) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:52AM (#12441329)
    The Space Needle will be a platform for a more conventional antenna, not an antenna itself.

    Those who live in Seattle know that the Space Needle is shorter than most of the downtown buildings, but it looks tall because zoning keeps high-rise buildings away from it. And there are plenty of higher points where additional antennas could be placed, some of them not even on high-rise buildings (eg. hills).
    • by Analogy Man (601298) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:30AM (#12441705)
      but it looks tall because zoning keeps high-rise buildings away from it....

      and photographers have a secret spot on Queen Anne Hill that with the compressed perspective of the right lenses make the Space Needle look like it towers over the skyline.

      • You don't even need special lenses. You can simply walk to the lookout point on the Hill and look, and because the tower is probably 1/4th the distance from you as the major buildings downtown, it simply looks bigger.
    • by GGardner (97375)
      zoning keeps high-rise buildings away from it.

      Maybe those same zoning regulations also help the range, with no pesky large buildings to block the signal...

    • the Space Needle is shorter than most of the downtown buildings, but it looks tall because zoning keeps high-rise buildings away from it.

      Speculating: given the range and line-of-sightness of the signal, this may actually make the space needle a fine spot - being uncrowded and high enough, from there you can hit all the office buildings straight-on, instead of towering over them. Maybe from the top of the B of A building you could get better range out to the city limits, but not as good coverage to the tar
    • by Misanthropy (31291)
      Tallest buildings in Seattle

      # Name Height Year
      01. Bank of America Tower 285 m 1985
      02. Washington Mutual Tow.. 235 m 1988
      03. Two Union Square 226 m 1989
      04. Seattle Municipal Tow.. 220 m 1990
      05. 1001 Fourth Avenue Pl.. 192 m 1969
      06. Space Needle 184 m 1961
      07. US Bank Centre 177 m 1989
      08. Wells Fargo Center 175 m 1983
      09. Bank of America Fifth.. 166 m 1981
      10. Union Bank of Califor.. 163 m 1973
    • Yeah, don't confuse it with the CN Tower [cntower.ca] in Toronto, which is hugely gigantic.
  • I say (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sprotch (832431) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:53AM (#12441331)
    They should turn it into one huge Tesla weapon, Red Alert style. That should thwart off terrorists!
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:54AM (#12441342)


    From TFS:


    Don't put away those 802.11b/g cards just yet, as WiMAX is projected to cost $500 a month for 1.5Mb service.


    And from TFA:


    Chatterley says it'll be cheaper and much faster than the 1.5-megabit, T-1 service many businesses currently use.

    "(Now), when you go above that speed, it's going to run about $6,000 a month," Chatterley said once he was back inside on firm ground. "What we're introducing today is the delivery of a 6 megabit --versus 1.5 -- data communications solution available for right around $800 a month. (That's) versus the 1.5 (megabit) solution that goes for about $500 a month."


    I know that editors can't be bothered to check the accuracy of stories, but you think that at least the submitters would RTFM...
    • Plus it says that this price is for businesses, and that plans for use by private people are "probably a year away" -- implying that it won't take that long until they have something affordable by end-users.
    • by Binestar (28861) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:00AM (#12441412) Homepage
      I know that editors can't be bothered to check the accuracy of stories, but you think that at least the submitters would RTFM...

      Actually, it seems the submitter did "read the fine material", but didn't "understand the fine material". It's a reading comprehension issue that we need to resolve with this submitter.
    • I haven't seem anyone paying 6K/Month for a T-1 in a long time. That's not a far price comparison. I looked into getting one put into my house as I don't have high-speed anything where I live (until recently) and it was around $1500/mo. Just recently I was able to find a Wireless Internet provider at 3Mbps for $59/month + $5 for a fixed IP. I can have as many PCs as I like behind the router. So unless Seattle is a LOT higher priced area than Dallas I think they are going to have a tough sell at that price.
      • No, read it again. If you want more than a T1 (i.e. a T3), then you'll pay $6K/month. I don't think that's very reasonable though, since if you only wanted 6Mbps I suspect you'd be better off bonding a few T1s instead of buying a T3.
        • Still to high. We have a full T-3 where I work and they are paying about $4500 a month. They are looking at upgrading to an OC-3 perhaps and that is about $6K or more a month. Pricing on network bandwidth for corporations is very competitive these days. For the home user, not as much so :(
      • Sounds a bit pricey, in my area (Toronto, Canada) a symmetrical 100mbit fiber line is $1000/month + one time installation. Includes switching equipment to get it down to cat 5 cable.

        I would look at Cogent, they have a giant network.
    • At any rate, if you read Speakeasy's website [speakeasy.net] where you would actually sign up for the service, you'll find they do offer a $500 per month option offering 3 megabit service. It's still not "cheaper" than a $500 1.5 megabit service as the article incorrectly claims, but it is more bandwidth for your buck.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:56AM (#12441370)
    I happen to know the SSID will be "needle" and the WEP key is "12345." Have at it.
  • Actually, from TFA:

    Chatterley says it'll be cheaper and much faster than the 1.5-megabit, T-1 service many businesses currently use.

    "(Now), when you go above that speed, it's going to run about $6,000 a month," Chatterley said once he was back inside on firm ground. "What we're introducing today is the delivery of a 6 megabit --versus 1.5 -- data communications solution available for right around $800 a month. (That's) versus the 1.5 (megabit) solution that goes for about $500 a month."

    They are sayi

    • They're talking about the business price, not for private persons.
    • T1 isn't DSL or Cable. It's fiber. That means higher costs for laying the groundwork and higher costs for the fiber itself, which the ISP passes onto the consumer (usually a business). What you're mostly paying for, however, is a guaranteed 1.5mbps line, not one that fluctuates wildly like DSL or Cable. T1 is much better suited for business because it almost never has any downtime (which of course is greatly valued by businesses, since time = money).
      • Re:$500 for 1.5Mbit? (Score:3, Informative)

        by dfghjk (711126)
        T1 isn't fiber, it's twisted pair. Just a POTS line with the filters taken off. Part of T1 is a builtin backup line so it's two pairs in reality. DSL data rates are fixed just like T1 but frequently assymetrical. The difference is the business grade monitoring and failover and the attitude at the ISP that the service is important.
    • Which confuses me greately. Granted my DSL is only half that rate, but I pay $30/month. Cable internet access is ~1.5Mbit and most charge under $50. Maybe they've got a sticky zero key?

      But you can't actually use your ~1.5 Mbit connection to its full potential all the time, your ISP would pull the plug quickly. Your service also isn't guaranteed to be up however-many-nines of the time. Cable can be had for $20/month for 4 megabit, but that's only 4 megabit peak, many ISPs have in the small print of the ag
    • I have cable. $50 / month. I regularly get over 3Mb/s, and my neighbor gets about 6Mb/s in the same building. The only problem are the outages. Regards
    • A few reasons this service would cost more:
      • It's syncronous bandwidth, which means 1.5mbps up and down. DSL typically has a slow upload rate
      • No restrictions: You're ISP isn't going to complain or shut off your service if you use 1.5Mbps the entire month of service
      • Quality of service: For a business, losing your network connection for one day could mean a loss of much greater than the $800 paid for one month of service. The ISP's for business service usually have some uptime guarantee, whereas with home
  • A launching platform from which fans can throw rotting vegetables at the 2005 Seattle Mariners, for example.
  • HAHAHA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker@gmDALIail.com minus painter> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:59AM (#12441398) Journal
    Its actually 6Mb.
    They are trying to sell this as a replacement for buisness T1 thats why the prices are so high. Though I seriously doupt they can provide the reliability and the uplink speeds of a T1. Not to mention the fact that a 6Mb T1 really doesn't cost 6 grand anymore like they are trying to imply. Maybe it does in Seattle? Now if they can provide all my workers access to the internet (obivously their bandwidth would be set to max out as an aggregate to the 6Mb between all connections) from whereever they are in the city, $500 is a steal. Otherwise, no thanks.
    • Re:HAHAHA (Score:4, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:17AM (#12441581) Homepage Journal
      Its actually $800, for 6Mbps. And there is no such thing at a 6Mb T1. It's 1.544Mbps or less depending on signalling.

      HAHAHA

    • Re:HAHAHA (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Dopefish_1 (217994)
      They are trying to sell this as a replacement for buisness T1 thats why the prices are so high. Though I seriously doupt they can provide the reliability and the uplink speeds of a T1.

      I used to work at a small ISP where we pushed wireless access similar to this for business customers (but on a smaller scale than TFA is talking about). Basically, you put an antenna up on the customer's roof with line-of-sight to one of our POPs, toss in a router, then generally just run cat5 from the router to their inter
  • by Sprotch (832431) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:00AM (#12441427)

    Perhaps someone should tell them that a company called Free offers access up to 20 Megabits for 30/month in France.

    Oh, and it comes with free local calls and ADSL "cable" television.

    That's actually a consequence of the Europe induced forced deregulation of the telecom industry. Competition is good.
    • You're comparing apples and oranges.

      WiMax potentially would give anyone with access to it the ability to surf the web wirelessly within a 30 mile range of the antenna.

      WiMax will be WiFi on steroids. Plus it allows you to surf while traveling at relatively high speeds. Your kids could be surfing the web in the backseat of your car as you travel down the highway.

      Comparing it to ADSL or any other wired broadband internet service misses the point of the technology.
      • My company has several microwave point-to-point DS3s. Our equipment probably costs a lot more than WiMax (~$50,000), but once you get your license from the FCC you are good to go...
    • And it does that wirelessly?
    • And this is a wireless synchronous connection? Highly doubtful.
    • Perhaps someone should tell them that a company called Free offers access up to 20 Megabits for 30/month in France.

      Why?

      Customers in Seattle can't and won't go to a company in France to get their wireless fix. They are not competitors.
    • "Perhaps someone should tell them that a company called Free offers access up to 20 Megabits for 30/month in France."

      Emphasis on "up to". The 1.5mbit service described isn't oversubscribed like the DSL you're referring to.

      Also, 30 what? Euros? Dollars?

      Hell, Verzion offers 30mbit for $50 a month in the US. It's called FIOS.
    • Perhaps someone should tell them that a company called Free offers access up to 20 Megabits for 30/month in France.

      Ah yes, but can this ADSL do 20mbps upstream? The SpeakEasy product can be configured for up to 4mbps upstream.

      Asymmetric connections are fine for the home, but get a dozen designers on an ADSL circuit and note how they whinge when thier 25MB documents take ten minutes to upload to the print shop next door.

      WiMAX in its first incarnation (with fixed base stations for business use) will be a
  • by DJCacophony (832334) <v0dka&myg0t,com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:06AM (#12441474) Homepage
    Space Needle To Become WiMax Antenna

    The needle itself isn't going to be turned into one giant antenna. They're just putting an access point on top of it (FTA: Antennas and radio equipment are being installed 605 feet up at the top of the Space Needle).
  • by StCredZero (169093) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:07AM (#12441487)
    Namely, Tenchi Muyo in Love [imdb.com]. At the end of the movie, the Tenchi gang have to set up 5 transmitters around the city and one on Tokyo Tower in order to defeat the super criminal Kain. Maybe Seattlites should be on the lookout for green spiky haired women who can fly and materialize energy swords.
  • Someone forgot to mention the lensing effects when you have a microwave antenna put up at high elevations. The inherent characteristics of the antenna's radiation patters dictate how much coverage the setup will have at any given height. SO the best thing in this case is that someone is going to have to sit down at a terminal with a antenna creator program, build an antenna that has optimum horizontal emission patterns to operate at 600 feet.

    Hey, its either that or set the antennas at a optimum level on th
  • by eggboard (315140) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:24AM (#12441644) Homepage
    A few errors in this item's text. First, it's not Wi-Fi replacement. This version of WiMax (technically pre-WiMax at the moment) is point-to-multipoint high-speed T-1-plus replacement.

    It's $800 per month for 6 Mbps aggregate bandwidth in either 3 up/3 down, 4 up/2 down, or 2 up/4 down configurations. It's intended for businesses that need more than T1 (about $500 per month in Seattle) and don't want to simply double their costs and increase their complxity.
  • To get reception does that mean I have to lug around a Space Needle of my own?

    Any comment taken seriously is the responsibility of the reader
  • by part_of_you (859291) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:32AM (#12441718) Journal
    802.11b/g cards = $50.00

    1.5Mb service = $800.00/Month

    subscription to pornography site = $35.00/Month

    Viewing high-speed porn using a recycled NASA instrument called a "Space Needle" = Priceless

  • Damn... (Score:2, Funny)

    I can buy a lot of wire for $500.00 per month!
  • Not for individual users, certainly, but for the right business that's a nice deal. Consider your typical "roach coach" sandwich&coffee van. Now these guys can offer wifi and compete with the dirtbound coffee houses. Hmmm, possible but not likely.

    They're really selling to people who want more upstream bandwidth than a consumer/small-biz broadband connection provides.

    It's a nice deal for an ISP who wants an alternate route, or for businesses that run their own in-house network over leased lines.
  • Seattle, Washington has found a new use for their aging Space Needle.
    I hope those enterprising individuals can also find uses for the aging Eiffel Tower and aging Washington Monument. Or the really, REALLY aged Great Pyramid.
  • It is *only* 43 years old.

    -Nick
  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:37AM (#12442494)
    The problem is they share the same frequencies as b and g wireless do, and because of their height, have much better signals. These projects can cause interference over a wide area, making the wireless router in your living room USELESS for anything but in room use. I already have this problem here at home with other peoples' routers on just about every channel here (I can pick up a dozen or more on my laptop). No matter where I located a single access point in my (small) house, I had big time dead spots. Finally, I threw in the towel and installed a second access point in my bedroom. I used to be able to walk dwn the block and use my laptop fine (with a single AP); now I need two AP's just to cover my 650 square foot house. All because of interference. Now Speakeasy is going to put an AP up 600-700 feet? It's gonna wipe out half the wireless in downtown Seattle! It also works the other way too - a local AP can make Speakeasy's service slower (or non-existant) as well. This is the FCC's fault - putting MILLIONS of radios on just three (or 4) non overlapping channels is NUTS. Even CB had 23 channels starting out (later expanded to 40 channels).
  • I used to have a fixed wireless link in San Jose years ago, and while the bandwidth was nice the latency sucked. Supposedly [frost.com]
    wimax has ways of attacking this problem.

    Anyone know whether the latency is likely to suck in practice?
  • It doesn't require such expensive real estate for towers and the level of service isn't that competitive with things costing 1/10th as much but less ubiquitous. So where is such a stupid pricing model coming from and why would anyone believe they will find many takers?
  • From the article:
    "What we're introducing today is the delivery of a 6 megabit --versus 1.5 -- data communications solution available for right around $800 a month. (That's) versus the 1.5 (megabit) solution that goes for about $500 a month."

    It's $800/month for 6Mb/s with WiMAX, vs. $500/month for 1.5Mb/s T1. This is more business connections with guaranteed bandwidth. Consumer pricing for WiMAX will be competitve with Cable/DSL.
  • ... the "dish" he was holding up looks like the microwave antennas that oh-so-many wireless companies use. Not that there's anything inherantly wrong with the technology, but so far I have yet to find a single company of that sort which actually delivered a product worth having.

    Really. I've been approached by many of them, and had them pitched to be the greatest thing in the world. However, I've worked on systems connected by every one of them, and without fail, every one of their networks sucked.
  • Isn't 802.16 NOT meant for mobile uses? Also, I believe it has pretty bad performance when it rains. (Seattle....)

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