& cplSiteName &

Hotspots of the Future

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
5/2/2003
50%
50%

It was clear to anyone that visited the Networld+Interop show in Vegas this week that wireless LAN access points are already undergoing a speedy and dramatic evolution from their original form of bland, black boxes into a number of different dedicated form factors for indoor and outdoor usage.

In general, the indoor units are getting smaller and less intrusive, while the (far larger) outdoor units are sprouting tough exteriors designed to enable their use in all weathers and terrains.

This evolution is an ongoing process, so, Unstrung asked some of the vendors at the show what they expect the future to look like.

Trapeze Networks Inc., which has designed its "mobility points" to look like smoke detectors, reckons that the devices could get even smaller over time. "Radios are getting smaller, CPUs are getting smaller," says Biran Bailey, who does product marketing for the WLAN switch startup [ed. note: not "bigger than a club," then].

It is also possible that in the future extra, non-wireless features could be bolted onto access points as they become part of the corporate landscape. Bailey says that there is a "joke" inside Trapeze about "Version 17" of the company's access point, which, he chuckles, will include an actual built-in "smoke detector, muzak speaker, and a video camera."

Right. Moving on...

Some people are looking at incorporating the radio nodes even more deeply into the fabric of a company. Unstrung spoke to David Beberman, CEO of WLAN startup Corporate WaveNet Inc., a name that may be familiar to regular readers of our message boards. The frenetic Mr. Beberman suggests that one possible evolutionary stage for access points could be to build radios into ceiling tiles that can be installed next to each other to provide complete (nay, total) wireless coverage in a building. And Beberman claims that his company has the answer to the interference problems that having so many access points so close together would cause.

Companies looking at delivering outdoor 802.11 public access hotspots are much more concerned with the problems of powering and providing inexpensive backhaul for the access points than they are with their form factors.

Solar power could be one option for powering outdoor hotspots. "We've been examining that," says Efstratios "Efstratospheric" Skafidas, CTO of Bandspeed Inc. (see Bandspeed's Six-Eyed Gypsy ). He reckons that it would be possible to power Bandspeed's current Gypsy "enhanced access point" design in sunny climates. The box uses "something like 12 watts" of power, he says [ed. note: he didn't say whether it steals it from the local power lines].

Even Trapeze, which uses Power-Over-Ethernet (POE) to juice up its nodes, acknowledges the possibility of using alternative power sources for access points that are a ways away from its traffic switching hub. "I don't think it's out of this world," says Trapeze's Bailey of the prospects for solar power (unwittingly unleashing a much better zinger than his "Version 17" effort).

"One of the issues with power-over-Ethernet is that there's a lot of line loss over a hundred feet," Bailey says. "If there's a way to provide local power it's worth looking at."

For the hotspot providers, wireless backhaul could actually prove to be very useful when setting up remote access points. Bandspeed's Skafidas [skiddlyatdidoo!] says that one possible configuration for backhaul purposes is to use an 802.11a (54-Mbit/s over 5GHz) access point with a microwave antenna to transmit signal over long distances to other access points.

Meanwhile, Vivato Inc. says that wireless ISPs (WISPs) could use the mesh network capabilities in its dining-room-table-sized outdoor switch to provide backhaul.

"I think the harder problem than power is backhaul," contends Ken Biba, CEO of the San Francisco-based startup.

Biba says that his system could set up using little clusters of four of the switches to bounce signal between each box over tens of kilometers. This "inline backhaul" uses the 25 decibels of signal gain built into the Vivato system to bounce signals over such distances.

However, as Biba notes, using inline backhaul lessens the wireless bandwidth that can be delivered to the end user, because the switch is essentially performing double duty, passing signal to the user and other switches. In addition, one of the switches in a cluster would need a high-capacity wired connection, something like a T3 line, Biba says. However, using the cluster method enables a WISP to set up services faster than before.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
4.5G Evolution: Peter Zhou on Advanced MIMO Technologies & 5G Business Prep

2|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


In the process of service transformation, operators need to catch three major opportunities and start deploying in 4.5G networks, such as video, household broadband access and digital transformation of vertical industries. 5G is coming. Operators don't need to wait for it to happen but should progressively deploy 4.5G networks by introducing 5G-oriented ...
LRTV Custom TV
What WTTX Can Deliver

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


Mohamed Madkour explains the benefits of WTTX while Dimitris Mavrakis discusses the challenges of delivering home broadband access.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei on Mobile Broadband

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


Mohamed Madkour shares his vision on MBB for the next three years.
LRTV Custom TV
Analysys Mason Talks About the Future of Digital Operations

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


The future of digital operations has three key aspects: 1. Highly automated operations for both service and network; 2. Highly converged BSS/OSS for business and resources; 3. Highly merged management and control for real-time cloud native operations.
LRTV Interviews
Software Trends in the Telecom Sector

2|23|17   |   03:40   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading senior analyst James Crawshaw talks with Telecoms.com Editorial Director Scott Bicheno about trends and developments in the telecoms software sector and what to expect at MWC 2017.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei's Pre-MWC Analyst Briefing 2017 Highlights

2|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shares its vision for this year's MWC.
LRTV Interviews
MWC17: 5G, Cloud RAN & More

2|21|17   |   04:35   |   (0) comments


Ovum Senior Analyst Julian Bright talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about all things MWC, including Cloud RAN, Huawei's pitch to the industry and the road to 5G.
LRTV Interviews
MWC 2017's Key 2-Letter Terms

2|20|17   |   08:29   |   (1) comment


5G, AI, VR... these are just some of the two-letter terms that will dominate show-floor chat at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, according to these two blow-hards (a.k.a. Scott Bicheno of Telecoms.com and Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre). And then there's PB...
LRTV Interviews
Key Trends for Mobile Operators in Developing Markets

2|20|17   |   06:37   |   (0) comments


Ovum's Matthew Reed talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about the challenges and opportunities facing mobile operators in the developing markets of Africa and the Middle East.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Uber's HR Nightmare: Company Investigates Sexual Harassment Claims
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 2/21/2017
Broadband Has a Problem on the Pole
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/21/2017
Verizon to Start Fixed 5G Customer Trials in April
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/22/2017
Sprint to Go Gigabit Crazy at MWC!
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/22/2017
MANO Marriage: ECOMP, Open-O Converge as ONAP
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 2/23/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
No One Likes This Click Here
Take a hint!
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.