Light Reading

LAN Dressed as MAN

LR Mobile Column
LR Mobile Column
LR Mobile Column
10/27/2004
50%
50%
Repost This

Public-access 802.11 wireless LAN is a riddle – we've all used it in hotels, airports, or at conferences, and found it to be valuable. But in spite of this, the business of deploying and operating hotspots is fraught with cost and undermined by users that don't like paying much, if anything, for WiFi.

Personally, I've all but abandoned paid WiFi hotspots since 3G data cards (300 kbit/s downstream, 64 kbit/s upstream) arrived in London (see Review: Vodafone's 3G Data Card). Not only do I save a little money, but I also get to choose where I go to sip tea and access the Internet.

That doesn't mean I think the business of public-access 802.11 is a dead end, or is destined to remain a loss-leader for coffee (tea) outlets and burger joints. It's just that we need a way to make hotspot services more useful to more people.

Part of the answer, finds October's edition of Unstrung Insider, could lie in metro-area 802.11 technology, designed for use in hot-zones that cover public locations, such as airports and shopping malls, or even outdoor areas, such as campuses and downtown city blocks. The idea is to extend the coverage of today's isolated and widely distributed hotspots to provide more pervasive and broadly available services, with a better business proposition, than exists today.

Just for show, here's a graphic of a hot-zone network in Auckland, New Zealand [ed: see, this stuff is everywhere] operated by Reach Wireless using mesh network equipment from RoamAD. 802.11 coverage areas are marked red.



Two features important to making such hot-zones successful, says Craig Cameron, CEO of RoamAD, are "continuous indoor and outdoor WiFi coverage" that is "as good as GSM" within the hot-zone, and the ability to provide wireless VOIP with full roaming, low latency, and fast handoffs. This sure sounds great, but, naturally, it's not really as simple as that in practice.

The challenge to metro 802.11 is that IEEE-standard 802.11 technology is designed and intended for local-area networks, which raises concerns about how far it can be extended into the more-demanding metro environment, where it will compete against purpose-built WiMax and cellular systems. And from some angles, the whole concept looks pretty shaky, so why persevere?

For the majority of vendors and service providers that have embarked on metro 802.11 projects, it's the attraction of low-cost equipment and unlicensed 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum that motivates efforts to turn wireless LAN into wireless MAN. There are two basic network architectures for metro-zone 802.11:

There are advantages to both architectures, of course, (although wireless mesh sounds a lot more exciting), but the real good news is that regardless of the type of system deployed, the case for metro 802.11 is strengthened by parallel industry developments, including:



Taken individually, these are powerful trends; but combined with extended-coverage, metro-zone 802.11, they might just take the market to the point where public-access WiFi pays for itself, rather than having the coffee (or tea) pick up the check.

— Gabriel Brown, Chief Analyst, Unstrung Insider

The report, Metro-Zone 802.11 Wireless, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Unstrung Insider, priced at $1,350. Individual reports are available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.unstrung.com/insider.

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
More Blogs from LR Mobile Column
Mobile operators are coming to terms with their supporting role in the mobile apps world
Radio access networks are set for radical change
After a sluggish start, mobile banking will grow exponentially in the US market through 2015
LTE mobile device sales are expected to reach anywhere from 500,000 to 1M units in 2011
China's ranks of 3G subscribers will more than double this year, reaching 40M units
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
Hot Topics
WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
What's the Magic of Private Equity?
Carolyn Mathas, 4/22/2014
AT&T Turns Up Gig Heat in 21 New Metros
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/21/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed