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unbearable 12/5/2012 | 5:27:53 PM
re: Wi-Fi vs. 4G: Is There Really a Debate?

While its nice to see the big cable companies rolling out community WiFi that far exceeds the performance levels availed in McDonalds, Starbucks, and other AT&T vendors, they will rescind it soon enough.


Despite rolling out 1000+ access points, their signals don't carry far, and the login/authentication process is a joke.


If they want anyone to take notice and use it, more coverage is needed, with auto-login capability, and it needs to be available to non-cable-subscribers.  


$50/month for intermittent WiFi access is a joke - Boingo charges $10/month.


 


4G, or whatever you and the carriers want to call it, will win out, because it works everywhere.   The only question is the pricing models that people will accept.  Right now, the punitive overage model is being re-adopted, we'll have to wait for a disruptive carrier to offer something more acceptable.


 

kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:27:52 PM
re: Wi-Fi vs. 4G: Is There Really a Debate?

Unbearable, I would believe your argument if only the last part could ever come true: waiting for "a disruptive carrier to offer someting more acceptable." That's just not going to happen, at least not in the cellular manner, anytime soon, because of spectrum.


You can't get away from the physics of needing lots of spectrum to offer lots of bandwidth. The problem with cellular right now (mainly in the US market) is that there simply isn't enough spectrum that is usable for wireless data to allow for the incumbents, much less a new "disruptive" entrant to make any headway. Cases in point -- Clearwire, LightSquared. Clearwire is maintaining a business, but it's far from a winning recipe yet. And LightSquared never got off the ground. So -- where exactly will your disruptive carrier come from? I don't see it happening, since there really isn't any spectrum out there for a cellular play.


So -- the opportunity falls to the unlicensed bands, and the idea that most mobile use is nomadic and not mobile, meaning you are not at home but at a coffee shop, hotel, restaurant, classroom, etc. Where Wi-Fi can reach you. We will always need some kind of cellular connection for calls and true mobility... but the balance of data is going to go to Wi-Fi and unlicensed bands. Just a question of who provides it.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:27:52 PM
re: Wi-Fi vs. 4G: Is There Really a Debate?

Unbearable, I would believe your argument if only the last part could ever come true: waiting for "a disruptive carrier to offer someting more acceptable." That's just not going to happen, at least not in the cellular manner, anytime soon, because of spectrum.


You can't get away from the physics of needing lots of spectrum to offer lots of bandwidth. The problem with cellular right now (mainly in the US market) is that there simply isn't enough spectrum that is usable for wireless data to allow for the incumbents, much less a new "disruptive" entrant to make any headway. Cases in point -- Clearwire, LightSquared. Clearwire is maintaining a business, but it's far from a winning recipe yet. And LightSquared never got off the ground. So -- where exactly will your disruptive carrier come from? I don't see it happening, since there really isn't any spectrum out there for a cellular play.


So -- the opportunity falls to the unlicensed bands, and the idea that most mobile use is nomadic and not mobile, meaning you are not at home but at a coffee shop, hotel, restaurant, classroom, etc. Where Wi-Fi can reach you. We will always need some kind of cellular connection for calls and true mobility... but the balance of data is going to go to Wi-Fi and unlicensed bands. Just a question of who provides it.

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:27:52 PM
re: Wi-Fi vs. 4G: Is There Really a Debate?

Although wireless/4G some day might, as you say, replace  FTTH and other connection technologies, that won't happen if mobile operators continue to offer the kinds of tiered data plans they now have. They would really have to raise the ceiling on data caps.

davis74037 12/5/2012 | 5:27:52 PM
re: Wi-Fi vs. 4G: Is There Really a Debate?

Wireless Beach Access has already accomplished what Time Warner did for a faction of the cost. WBA is a small CLEC located in Delaware that has already WI-FIed Rehoboth Beach. They use DSL connections for backhaul for each of their hotspots creating a Metro Zone hotspot.  You can use your WI-FI enabled device almost anywhere in the town, boardwalk or beach.  Their yearly cost is 149.00 a year, if you rent your home renters are given separate usernames to access the network during their stay . The network allows two devices to connect simultaneously. One username allows for you to roam throughout the network. It is a Great deal for a Great price!

 However, I agree it is only a matter of time before wireless Internet replaces all data connections including FTTH.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:27:51 PM
re: Wi-Fi vs. 4G: Is There Really a Debate?

If there ever was a horse destined to remain stuck in the gate, that's it.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:27:51 PM
re: Wi-Fi vs. 4G: Is There Really a Debate?

If there ever was a horse destined to remain stuck in the gate, that's it.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:27:51 PM
re: Wi-Fi vs. 4G: Is There Really a Debate?

Don't think much of FreedomPop then, eh, Kaps? *giggle*

Matt Massey 12/5/2012 | 5:27:47 PM
re: Wi-Fi vs. 4G: Is There Really a Debate?

Kaps,

As Director of Marketing for Edgewater Wireless (www.edgewaterwireless.com ) I can tell you, based on conversations I've had with some, that the path forward for major carriers and service providers is not a clear one.  Largely due to the lack of a monetization strategy for WiFi services and the consumer expectation that WiFi should be free. So the challenge remains, how do they justify the expense/investment in implementing large scale WiFi infrastructure wihout a supporting business model.  

I agree with you that 802.11ac offers some impressive download speeds, unfortunately it's not the answer.  802.11ac provides awesome association rates at close proximity but falls off quickly at a distance.  Also, 802.11ac doesn't address the issues around adjacent channel interference that dominate the unlicensed spectrum with 802.11abgn WiFi networks today.  As more and more WiFi networks are installed, adjacent channel interference will become more prevelant and impact the user experience - 802.11 ac included.


Additionally, because of the inherent nature of single-channel APs the association rate of the slowest device dominates the association rates of all of the devices.  Now in order to address this, AP Vendors are using stacked radios, MIMO and software like Airtime fairness however these all reach a saturation point and downgrade or mitigate the user experience.

I like what Devicescape is doing, I had an opportunity to speak with them at length during CTIA and their concept of a crowdsourced wifi network is excellent. They'll eventually be bought by a global SP for a wheelbarrow or two of money but it's a very smart company.

Our company Edgewater Wireless is offering a different AP product leveraging our proprietary WiFi3 technology to address both the adjacent channel interference issue and traditional single-channel WiFi capacity issues with 3-channels on a single AP.  We're disruptive in the marketplace from a technology perspective which is why service providers and carriers are looking at our technology so closely now.

Cheers,


Matt 

Matt Massey 12/5/2012 | 5:27:46 PM
re: Wi-Fi vs. 4G: Is There Really a Debate?

I hear you, I'm a marketer through and through!  


Simply my perspective on the market but the  growth of WiFi isn't happening in North America anywhere close to the rapid adoption taking place in Brazil, APAC and CALA - the growth in these regions is explosive.

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