The Future of Wireless Networks

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[ 2004-June-13 21:29 ]

Today, I read a very interesting article on future business opportunities for wireless networks entitled Wireless VC Losses 'Max'imized. My research work is currently in the area of wireless data networks, so I found it very interesting. It argues that there is no business in deploying access points and selling access, but there are still exciting things going on in this field.

The first example is the town of Scottsburg, Indiana, USA. The city decided to deploy its own high speed Internet service using 802.16 Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) technology. The town has 6000 residents, and Verizon decided it was too small to deploy DSL. They currently have about 200 customers using their service. The mayor also goes on to explain that high speed Internet access is critical to their community. I can imagine that it is almost more critical in a rural region that it is in an urban region, but I have no data to back that up. There are also companies and individuals who are doing this sort of thing elsewhere.

Clay Shirky observes that the key reason behind this trend is that WiFi hubs and VoIP adapters allow the users to build out the edges of the network without needing to ask the phone companies for either help or permission. A good example would be Cringely's article from this week, Engines of Change. It is a follow-up on his article from last week, which prompted my to write about Do it Yourself VoIP. He figures that this wireless stuff is simply ideal for a high-density, low-income urban culture like that found in China. They are both right, and that is why I am excited about wireless networks, and why my research is in this field. This is disruptive technology, and the future will be exciting.