Re: TECH: wireless gets real

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Fri Jul 06 2001 - 09:20:27 MDT

On Fri, 6 Jul 2001, Brian D Williams wrote:

> What "last mile" problem? We're allowed only to do extremely local

You might remember. We were talking about global connectivity for
everybody on this dirtball, then, suddenly, about affordable broadband,
again for everybody, then, suddenly, about fiber, for everybody, then
about a lot of other things, mostly unrelated.

Global connectivity for everybody (most values of everybody, at least) is
doable, fiber up every tree is of course another matter entirely. But, who
needs fiber up the wazoo, right now? I would take it, if I can have it, of
course, but I'd be pretty happy with anything above ~128/384 --
availability and flat rate would be much preferable to speedy, but cranky

> telephone service, and the system we've installed and run is optimal
> for that.

Sure, that's the system you installed, and which works right now. LoS
photonics, swarms of mass-produced and mass-deployed low-LEO microsats,
active beamforming, digital pulse radio, Ethernet to the home, they're all
different technologies, with different capabilities and different

> When we're allowed to do something else, we'll build something
> else.

> Since we're also the company that introduced cellphones in the U.S.
> we know a thing or two about wireless, and the numbers aren't

Wireless is a huge area, most of it is yet uncharted. LoS photonics and
digital pulse radio is wireless, and software radio routers are wireless,
too. I'm not aware of any company having competencies in all of these
areas, especially the lunatic fringe technologies like digital pulse

> there. We keep looking at it every day though.
> We looked long and hard at Iridium, and at the others.

Iridium is too expensive, of course. It deserved to crash and burn, but if
the feds were willing to bail it out for their needs, why not. Your taxes
at work, and all.

> Any independent connection is refered to as a port, a cell tower
> for example can only handle so many calls at once, so many "ports".

So, what if the end user devices themselves route packets? Connectivity
doesn't always require voice, SMS or a speech recognition system can send
a small text message, which doesn't have to have high QoS. High-QoS 10
kBps might be the limit for streaming audio, but streaming audio is a
niche, albeit a currently very widely used niche.

> We look at high speed wireless everyday, and talk to our customers
> everyday, we have the curves plotted for every available technology
> compared to what people have said they're willing to pay, and the
> curves are nowhere near close.

Have you heard about 802.11b and successor technologies grassroute
networks, based on Mobile Mesh, etc? About communities doing their private
Ethernet to the home projects?

At least 802.11b based networks are very affordable, even given early
status of hardware development (I don't see why a mature 802.11b derived
router couldn't be sold for ~300-$400 in quantities, with zero operaton
costs but for the juice).

> We'll keep watching....

-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
ICBMTO : N48 10'07'' E011 33'53''
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:39:42 MDT