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Mobile WiMAX to Succeed Where Muni WiFi Failed? 93

Posted by Zonk
from the just-get-me-some-wi-whatever dept.
WiNot writes "WiMAX's supporters are positioning Mobile WiMAX as an alternative to municipal WiFi networks in the wake of recent cancellation or postponement of muni WiFi projects in Chicago and San Francisco. 'There's no business case for municipal WiFi ... With many municipal WiFi deployments in a holding pattern, it may be Sprint's Xohm WiMAX network will be up and running before muni WiFi can get its act together.' From what Ars saw during its Motorola-sponsored cruise on the Chicago River earlier this week, WiMAX has the potential to deliver the goods in terms of speed, latency, and reliability. If Sprint hits its goal of blanketing metropolitan areas with WiMAX in a timely fashion and prices the service attractively, the kind of expansive municipal WiFi networks once envisioned in Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco could go the way of Pets.com and Flooz."
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Mobile WiMAX to Succeed Where Muni WiFi Failed?

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  • Re:Doubt it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @04:07PM (#20774369) Homepage Journal
    I think you are still better off with a cellular broadband adapter, which can be bought in USB, CardBus and ExpressCard variations. Municipal WiFi is just the wrong solution to the problem, it's a duct tape solution and somehow people sound like they are expecting custom machined quality out of it.
  • Re:Doubt it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by irtza (893217) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @04:08PM (#20774397) Homepage
    I agree with your sentiments. It would be nice to be able to use existing devices on this network without having to buy a new card or somehow connect it to a phone. I have a simple question. How legal would it be to say put 802.11b/g repeaters all over town in private residences? Maybe zone a city by region. I know this would be a rather slow connection, but just to provide basic wifi throughout town? Maybe only have like 9-10 base stations in a small town? and use commoditiy hardware?
  • Re:Doubt it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) * <`ten.yxox' `ta' `nidak.todhsals'> on Thursday September 27, 2007 @04:32PM (#20774743) Homepage Journal
    I don't think there's anything illegal with it, provided that you have the permission of the person who's providing the actual uplink, so that you're not stealing their bandwidth.

    I once got involved with a group of people who wanted to deploy a system like that; basically a mesh network of wireless nodes. There was a linux distribution around that turned a computer with a wifi card into a mesh node, doing all sorts of neat intelligent routing. You could have multiple uplinks in the mesh at various points and packets would automatically pick the best route, it would route around damage, you could use cards with multiple wireless NICs to do long-distance WiFi point-to-point connections (although using external antennas with consumer wifi gear is technically a violation of FCC rules).

    Unfortunately what hobbled the system was the limited number of Wifi cards supported by Linux. We wanted to use donated hardware and most of the wireless cards we could acquire cheaply weren't compatible. The situation might be better now (this was 4-5 years ago).

    The main problem with Wifi or any other very low power system is that you need a LOT of nodes. That's why WiMax looks better; it can use higher power levels and thus you need a lot fewer nodes.
  • Re:One problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Catbeller (118204) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @05:29PM (#20775483) Homepage
    Bingo. But, since we've bought into the "free market fixes everything" idea 100% in the US, we're gonna be boned. Even tho every example of telecom rollout has screwed us over to the tune of tens of billions of wasted bucks, we keep handing them the keys to the cash register.

    Figure out how much muni WiFi would have cost, total. Then add up all the future private company bills for service. Yup. We're screwed. I've always said that the real cost is the TOTAL charge for every customer since the inception of service, added up. It's fun to figure out how much a taxpayer-paid nationalized internet would have cost, and then add up every wireless, cable, telephone and DSL bill since the beginning of private service. Ans: we've been massively overcharged.

    Do we pay for roads like this? Airports? Harbors? Altho it's interesting to note that embedded GPS and cell systems have led to a pilot project for a state to charge your car per mile driven. So we'll get it both coming and going, first taxes and bonds, then a usage charge.

    The ultimate question is: where is the money going? Who's making billions unfettered by regulation?

There must be more to life than having everything. -- Maurice Sendak

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