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Optical/IP

Muni Meltdown

5:40 PM -- Hey there Broadbandits!

Well, the news this week has been dominated by the apparent ongoing meltdown of the municipal WiFi market. Hate to say we told ya so, but we did. (See Google Moves on M-Payments and What a Mesh!)

To be honest, it didn't take a genius to see which way the wind was blowing. Unstrung has always been keenly aware of the technical and revenue-generating limitations of mesh WiFi and citywide networks. The sheer speed with which this sector went from hero to zero, however, surprised even us. EarthLink Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK)'s San Fran pullout has given this whole bubbly niche a massive jolt... of reality.

In the light of the meltdown, other broadband tidbits appear thin on the ground. Nonetheless, here's the best of the rest:

Clearwire Circling?
The wreckage of the Bay Area muni dream to bring WiMax to the Golden Gate. Maybe. (See More WiMax Coming to the Bay Area?)

Chana WiMax
The wireless broadband technology could be coming to India.

San Fran Free Forever!!!
Mesh startup Meraki Networks Inc. still pushing to keep citizen WiFi free in San Francisco.

— The Staff, Unstrung

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Foregolf 12/5/2012 | 3:03:11 PM
re: Muni Meltdown Interesting take...even more interesting is WiMax in 700 MHz. Has their been formal announcements? Will WiMax remain TDD (in FDD spectrum); that's a challenge. Lastly, can the 700 MHz auction winners really wait for 2009/2010??

Time will tell...
wap545 12/5/2012 | 3:03:11 PM
re: Muni Meltdown Earthlink failure and their selection of the wrong technology does not make a Muni Meltdown.
You folks (analysts/bloggers, vendor pundits and consultants) created and promoted the Hype on Earthlink without challenging their business plans, network design and technology selection so we all will suffer for awhile.
WiMAX (w/2.5Ghz) Mobile (w/Non Line of site)has yet to prove itself in urban or rural markets with any semblence of a canopy (Foliage). WiMAX will shine when they incorporate the new 700Mhz Spectrum (late 2009/2010) and allow true 4G type services in Metro and Rural heavily canopied markets.
So all you've managed to accomplish with this foolishness is to push the CellCo with their NArrowband (768Kbps max) services to the fore.
Cisco needs to keep this market alive, so watch what they do:
Cisco recent announcement on their 802.11n technology (Dual 2.4 &5.8Ghz radios)for the indoor Access Point market will lead directly to their 1500 series Wireless Mesh products in the next few years and thus will show us how to provide 100Mbps of throughput and access in a Mesh world. This will compliment the WiMAX WAN deployments and allow very high speed links (10-50Mbps) in concentrated market spaces-Video Surveillance.

Jacomo
Net Worthy 12/5/2012 | 3:03:10 PM
re: Muni Meltdown In ye olden times, WiMAX was hyped as a Wi-Fi killer. People gradually realized that WiMAX would only work in licensed spectrum.

At the same time, there was a lot of hype around voice over WLAN and how PCF (and, with 802.11e, HCCA) would provide wonderful voice performance and capacity. Nice idea, but neither PCF nor HCCA will work in unlicensed spectrum unless you're on a desert island.

Has anyone ever compared WiMAX to Wi-Fi with HCCA? I wonder if WiMAX is compelling enough to displace Wi-Fi in licensed spectrum.
IPobserver 12/5/2012 | 3:03:10 PM
re: Muni Meltdown It's not official as such, but the WiMax Forum is developing FDD and TDD profiles for 700 MHz based on 802.16e.

I think the question will be, what upgrade path will WiMax propose? For the big licenses, the operator will likely want to see some kind of roadmap to 802.16m, so it can stay competitive with the LTE operators.

For the regional licenses, this might not matter so much.

I'm doing some research into 700 MHz technology options at the momentGǪ so any (sensible) input is welcome.
wap545 12/5/2012 | 3:03:08 PM
re: Muni Meltdown ALso, don't you feel it is strange that the major Chip folks (Intel/TI and Broadcom) have not shipped WiMAX chips yet?
Do they know something about the 2.5Ghz spectrum and 802.16e??
zwixard 12/5/2012 | 3:03:08 PM
re: Muni Meltdown To guard the Walled Garden, incumbent CellCo do not like FCC's "open access" principle. Taiwan's incumbents intentionally bid low on WiMAX licenses. Time will tell (in 3 years) if those 6 license "winners" can survive in a market where cell phone penetration is more than 100%. 700 MHz should be a lower cost choice to new comers.
George B 12/5/2012 | 3:03:07 PM
re: Muni Meltdown WiMAX and Wi-Fi have nothing in common except the W in the name.

WiMAX is fundamentally a cellular type technology where time periods available for transmitting and receiving are synchronized across the entire network. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... A license holder does careful RF planning for efficient frequency reuse. WiMAX assumes spectrum ownership.

Wi-Fi functions like an ethernet LAN with wireless links substituted for wires. There is no synchronization between transmitters on the same frequency. It's easy to set up, but interference between wireless links is likely to occur as spectrum usage goes up. Wi-Fi asumes free unlicensed spectrum.
Net Worthy 12/5/2012 | 3:03:05 PM
re: Muni Meltdown > No chance for Wi-Fi mesh covering more than many city blocks that have to use different back haul gateways

The 802.11 spec was not designed to create city sized networks, but it can be, and has been, done. Tropos, SkyPilot, Strix, and BelAir all have built muni networks, up to about 1000 nodes (APs). Within a year I expect to see several deployments exceed ing 2000 nodes.

There are various ways to build a network with 1000+ APs supporting mobility between all those APs. For example, Tropos has a proprietary solution that is similar to proxy Mobile IP. Cisco has deployments of their Airespace AP-and-controller solutions with over 1000 APs in one network. Their approach, which is now the basis of the IETF CAPWAP working group standard, is to use GRE tunnels plus lots of broadcast/multicast filtering to provide a bridged Layer 2 connection between clients and their gateway routers while running over top of a routed infrastructure.
Net Worthy 12/5/2012 | 3:03:05 PM
re: Muni Meltdown You might want to read up on HCCA:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I...

Your description of Wi-Fi applies only to DCF and EDCA.
zwixard 12/5/2012 | 3:03:05 PM
re: Muni Meltdown Another difference is in mobility. True mobile applications may appear to run over WiMAX in a few years. No chance for Wi-Fi mesh covering more than many city blocks that have to use different back haul gateways.
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