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Re: WiMax -- has it failed
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 13:45:12 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Dana Spiegel <dana () nycwireless net>
Date: August 31, 2008 1:16:43 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net, pinneo () sbcglobal net
Cc: ip <ip () v2 listbox com>
Subject: Re: [IP] WiMax -- has it failed


WiMax and Wi-Fi are two totally different technologies, designed to address two totally different issues. I can speak only for New York City (which isn't just Manhattan, though is often mistaken as such by those who don't live here), where we have loads of Wi-Fi (some supported by NYCwireless) and a bit of WiMax (only provided by commercial providers like Rainbow Broadband and Towerstream).

In NYC, muni-wireless doesn't exist (there's a good report by city consultants that was just presented that details why, you can read about it on our website). Other organizations support the deployment of free public Wi-Fi (this is the business that NYCwireless is in).

As for WiMax, its a great technology but way too expensive for consumer use. We've got a few commercial providers (actually completely independent from the incumbents) that offer WiMax wireless services as T1 replacements for businesses. Its actually MUCH more reliable than T1s because its not susceptible to being cut by road/ sidewalk construction or Verizon incompetence (which is widespread). It does require near-line of sight to the few buildings in the city that operate as POPs (Empire State, Met Life, etc.), so other buildings get in the way, and it requires a cooperative building owner who will allow a small dish to be installed on the building's rooftop. Some businesses use this as their primary connection, since it only takes a few days to install and is much cheaper than the alternative for 5-10mbps pipes.

The big competitor to WiMax is metro-ethernet, which is a fiber-fed technology that offers 10mbps and up service to businesses inexpensively in buildings that provide this service (there are a few hundred buildings like this in the city).

If you want to learn more about Wi-Fi (and maybe a little about WiMax, though no organization really uses it), I would suggest googling: "Community Wi-Fi", "Community Wireless", and "Muni Wireless". No one really uses the term "Neighborhood Wireless".

The biggest issues with WiMax are:
1) very expensive compared to Wi-Fi
2) no equipment available (last I checked) that used unlicensed spectrum
3) relatively poor propagation characteristics in urban environments
4) not hackable or even available for CWNs to test and play with - try finding a linux driver for a WiMax card. Better still, try finding a WiMax mini PCI card!

Dana Spiegel
Executive Director
dana () NYCwireless net
+1 917 402 0422

Read the Wireless Community blog: http://www.wirelesscommunity.info

NYCwireless is a non-profit organization that advocates for, and enables the growth of free, public wireless networks

On Aug 31, 2008, at 12:43 PM, David Farber wrote:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Charles Pinneo <pinneo () sbcglobal net>
Date: August 31, 2008 11:37:02 AM EDT
To: Dave Farber <dave () farber net>, Frode Hegland <frode () hyperwords net>, Frode Hegland <frode () hegland com>
Subject: Re: [IP] WiMax whats up?

It doesn't generate profit?

But from reading IP for several years I do know this: municipal WiMax has pretty much failed. Nobody wants to pay for it? Dave Farber should really answer this because he's been posting comments on it for a two or three years. There was actually an IP thread on this called "Neighborhood Wireless" or "Neighborhood WiFi." I can't seem to find it on my computer or on the "Monthly Archives for Interesting People." I know it's there, but it going out of date fast.

Google "Neighborhood Wireless."

A lot of people WERE trying to avoid paying so much money to AT&T and Cable. Most have given up. This is central to Network Neutrality.

Here's an article from Popular Science from 2006. It was a technology about to happen in 2006, but it may be dead or dying now. Maybe it just wasn't profitable. If this article doesn't format properly from Mac to PC, I can resend it to you in a different form. WiMax, neighborhood wireless, WiFi, municipal WiFi, are all Googleable, but I just don't have time right now. I have to drive to an Obama rally in Battle Creek. Try NY Wireless at <http://www.nycwireless.net/ >. In Manhattan they just hitchhike on each others wireless connections. And that works if you're not concerned with privacy. I think this is a hot topic which died due to the profit factor.


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