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News for 6/30/2002
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Wi-Fi in Broomfield County, Colorado
How to Differentiate: T1 vs DSL
Indoor Fireworks
Cheap Gateways Revisited
EtherLinx and Fax Machines

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June 2002 Archives

June 30, 2002

News for 6/30/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

Today's 802.11b Networking News is sponsored by IIR's Public Access Wireless LANs
, 1-3 October 2002, Lisbon

The above is a paid, sponsored link. Contact us for more information.

NY Times story confirms AOL/Time-Warner letter to free wireless redistributors of their service: as noted a few days ago, AOL/TW notified a customer that his redistribution of their service over free wireless was a violation of their terms of service. They also insinuated and threatened other actions and problems. The NY Times story confirms that a number of people received these letters. In the general style of large firm paranoia versus small firm fleetness, enjoy the quote from the end of the story:

Arkady Goldinstein, chief executive of Acecape, a digital subscriber line provider based in New York, said it was "purely a cost-benefit analysis" to allow his customers to set up free networks. Mr. Goldinstein added that out of his firm's "several thousand" subscribers he believed "less than a dozen" have set up free networks.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 4:51 PM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 29, 2002

News for 6/29/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

Today's 802.11b Networking News is sponsored by IIR's Public Access Wireless LANs
, 1-3 October 2002, Lisbon

The above is a paid, sponsored link. Contact us for more information.

Rob Flickenger explains the benefits of long-haul Wi-Fi and captive portals in PC World magazine: a nice article that explains a lot of the benefits of sharing and extending bandwidth via Wi-Fi and simple technologies. [via Phillip J. Windley]

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 10:38 PM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 28, 2002

News for 6/28/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

Today's 802.11b Networking News is sponsored by IIR's Public Access Wireless LANs
, 1-3 October 2002, Lisbon

The above is a paid, sponsored link. Contact us for more information.

Warchalking hits government: in the coolest intersection of government, blogging, and wireless, the State of Utah's CIO blogs (using Radio) about the idea of warchalking to help identify resources inside an organization! I've never seen an idea get co-opted (in a good way) so quickly.

AOL/Time-Warner fires the first salvo in suppressing free wireless: Rick T. documents the letter he received about his alleged free wireless access point that connects to his AOL/Time-Warner (Roadrunner) cable modem service. A/T-W may be entirely within its rights, but the letter is creepy: it doesn't simply say, we think you're stealing our service and we're giving you a chance to stop. Rather, it alleges and hypothesizes about ways in which this might be a problem to Rick T. Nonetheless, this letter brings to an official head something I've been warning about for quite a while: if you have a contract with an ISP that says you can't share bandwidth and you're running open access points, you are violating that agreement. Yes, a lot of these agreements are hidden (you have to go online to read them and understand the fine print); yes, it may be an unreasonable business model for these outfits to even worry about this. But it's well within their rights as they can say to you, You Can Go Elsewhere. With cable modem service, you have more of a monopoly effect at work: in many less-served areas of the country and in some urban areas, cable modems from a single licensed provider which already has the cable franchise is the only high-speed data option.

802.11a fire sale, already: Atheros sent out an alert that NetGear was offering a rebate off their already inexpensive 802.11a hardware. The list is $100; with the rebate, it's $70. With's newest shipping offer, it's free shipping within the U.S. for that item. I've been using Proxim's 802.11a card and hub for a few days with a Windows laptop, and it's quite stunning: at distances and locations in my office where Wi-Fi fails, slows down, or sputters, I'm still running at 24 to 36 Mbps. [via Alan Reiter]

The softer, software side of Wi-Fi: I'm not sure this is news, as several months ago, discussions were reported by several manufacturers about moving some hardware Wi-Fi functions into the operating system. With so much CPU power, this could make sense: reduce the complexity and cost of the cards.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 12:21 PM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 27, 2002

News for 6/27/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

Today's 802.11b Networking News is sponsored by IIR's Public Access Wireless LANs
, 1-3 October 2002, Lisbon

The above is a paid, sponsored link. Contact us for more information.

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

InfoWorld's wireless columnist's wrong-headed column on free networks: Ephraim Schwartz's latest head-scratcher makes me mad. I almost didn't blog an entry on his wrong-headed column about why freenets won't last, and I just can't bottle it up inside. First, go and read the column. Then, when you finish laughing or screaming read the rest of this. I know that Ephraim reads this blog, at least occasionally, and part of me says, don't insult a colleague in a public forum. Well, let me skirt that line a bit.

The column completely misses the point of why community networks (or freenets as he describes them) exist at all: because people want them to, not as tools for business. Any business use is incidental to the notion of ubiquitous, free access. They are acts of will. Because they are communities of interest, the notion that they don't serve a business audience has no impact on their growth or utility.

In his column, Schwartz quotes two commercial Wi-Fi providers (no community networkers or outside industry observers), both involved with reasonable companies. The quotes and the column emphasize the fact that free networks can't offer reliable service. Well, duh. [Wi-Fi Metro founder] Pereyra predicts they will slowly dwindle away because they have no place in a business-professional environment in which Wi-Fi is used to access office files from wherever users may be. Pereyra, a smart guy, also laughs at Pringles antennas disregarding the much broader amount of work done to create inexpensive ruggedized external antennas that have nothing to do with Pringles cans.

The point of a free community network is to build out redundant, variable, ubiquitous access, but quality of service, availability, and security will be all over the map. With enough people involved, these networks will be useful, but as has been well demonstrated in the last two years, with even a few access points, community gathers around the bandwidth water hole.

Other News

Bluetooth printing: using a 3Com Bluetooth PC Card and a 3Com Bluetooth parallel printer adapter, I printed my first document via Bluetooth. It was an accident, actually. My office is well over 40 feet (through walls) or 50 to 60 feet by line of foot fro the printer adapter. I was examining the Bluetooth software and saw that the printer showed up. I configured COM4 on the Windows laptop as the printer, and printed. It worked like a charm. That's discovery for you.

Chunderdriving? Down Under wireless: the fine folks at have devoted a chunk of their site to the increasingly popular wireless standard that's making quite an impact in the land of Oz.

GRIC restructures: ISP aggregator GRIC reduces its forces, but the company has real revenue, growth, and a (potentially) viable model.

IBM introduces wireless starter kits: a neat idea from a support and deployment standpoint as long as IBM can provide world-class technical help.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 12:54 PM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 26, 2002

New for 6/26/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

Today's 802.11b Networking News is sponsored by IIR's Public Access Wireless LANs
, 1-3 October 2002, Lisbon

The above is a paid, sponsored link. Contact us for more information.

Warchalking takes off: covers the nascent warchalking meme, in which simple glyphs chalked on sidewalks or public surfaces identify the presence of nearby Wi-Fi access points, public or otherwise. Matt Jones continues the dialog on all manner of subjects related to warchalking. You were there: birth of a meme.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 11:26 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

Wi-Fi in Broomfield County, Colorado

By Glenn Fleishman

In a recent article "How DIY wi-fi makes 3G networks dinosaurs",6903,668735,00.html
Greg Anderson, IT director for Broomfield County, Colorado said:

".....forsaking 3G for a wi-fi system to cover its 36 square miles. Anderson says the return on the $60,000 price of the new system will be 'astronomical': mobile phones cost far more. "


"3G is slower than what I have now," he told Computerworld. "Our system is much better and has zero operating cost."

I have had a look around the net, and have found a couple of references to this, but I have a problem with the coverage.

36 square miles for $60,000! and how do you cover 36 sq miles with
802.11a or b when everything I read on the net suggests that the broadcast radius is less than 100 meters (say 330 feet on a good day)?

Any feedback on how that major "miracle" can be accomplished would be greatly appreciated.

thanks in advance

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 6:29 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 25, 2002

How to Differentiate: T1 vs DSL

By Glenn Fleishman

Today's 802.11b Networking News is sponsored by IIR's Public Access Wireless LANs
, 1-3 October 2002, Lisbon

The above is a paid, sponsored link. Contact us for more information.

[ Other News, below ]

The back-end bandwidth for a hot spot may become as important as its very existence. One of the nails in the coffin of MobileStar's deployment of hot spots in Starbucks stores was their insistence (prompted by Starbucks) on using dedicated T1 lines to bring bandwidth to the locations. Their competitors and others in the industry sniggered: why spend several hundred to several thousand dollars a month per location to bring in a T1 when comparable DSL service might only be a few hundred at most?

The answer is, of course, quality of service. No matter who provides the DSL -- a regional telco, Covad, or a local phone company -- it's not their top priority. Circuits go up and down. The service at times is pumped into overloaded ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) circuits and then shot thousands of miles before emerging at a network operation center or NOC. (Smarter ISPs manage this better, placing points of presence or POPs closer to major DSL customer bases.)

And who cares if the DSL goes down? It's usually an 8 to 5 proposition, weekdays, holidays excluded. You lose your circuit on Friday at noon, and if you're lucky enough to reach someone who can troubleshoot it and get a trouble ticket issued, you might get it solved by the end of the day -- but as likely as not, no.

I speak from experience on both sides: I've had almost 100 percent reliable (knock photo-wood-grain finish) DSL in several locations, but I've also had the Friday-afternoon experience.

Contrast this with T1: a T1 line is point-to-point. That is, service originates at one location coming out of a CSU/DSU which converts a router's output into T1 frames. Four wires snake from one location to a central office where the circuit is connected to another circuit and back into another office, CSU/DSU, and router. Because the quality of service (QoS) is maintained throughout, and because T1 is priced as a business service that may actually cover a telco's cost of operations, the choke points can be serviced right away.

When I had a T1 line back in 1994-1996 running an early Web development business, even in those heady early days my service calls were escalated. I paid the phone company $250/month for what I now pay them, over DSL, about $20 to $30 per month.

The context of T1s and QoS is equally important to hot spots. Starbucks demanded a robust business network over which to run their store-to-HQ ecommerce network, training systems, and incidentally to allow MobileStar to provide wireless-to-Internet service. MobileStar's mistake, apparently picked up by VoiceStream-cum-T-Mobile's deep pockets, is to subsidize Starbucks IT (information technology) expense as part of their cost of placement in a premium location.

For T-Mobile, it may make sense: spending $100 million on a national network of several thousand points all of which proudly display their wireless data/cellular brand could easily result in more cellular customers, and it's a bully launching point for any seamless, integrated cell/Wi-Fi tests and rollouts.

For most other locales, DSL could suffice, but the ups and downs of managing multiple DSL circuits, or relying on your hot spot customers (if you're deploying the service or reselling it), could swamp the uninitiated who base DSL performance on their own experience.

Other options are available, such as frame relay, an interesting technology in which you bring varying speed lines to facilities scattered around a number of central offices back to a central frame cloud. A circuit can be stuck in the middle of that cloud, essentially, pumping the frame traffic off to the Internet. The frame network can be cheaper to deploy because you don't need to bring Internet service to every location, just to the frame cloud itself. You also can offer a higher level of performance, because frame is a business service, and a higher pool of bandwidth.

Overseas, some providers already seem to be using bandwidth as a selling point, like NTT in Japan promoting the notion that the backhaul from their Wi-Fi hot spots will be multimegabits per second, rather than a more typical T1 speed (1.5 Mbps) or much slower (DSL speeds of 128 to 768 Kbps).

As conference centers start to roll wireless networking into their array of services to trade shows, they'll face more and more resistance from their $2,000 charges for a few days of Ethernet access at T1 speeds. A colleague recently asked me privately about how trade shows might respond to these enormous facilities charges while attendees at the show were spending $10 per day for full Internet access.

My response was that QoS and packet shaping (ratcheting bandwidth based on type of service, and even specific users) could allow conference centers to charge reasonable amounts for service (nothing like the ridiculous margins of today, I would expect).

The conference center wireless network can be segregated so that trade show booths and speaker media have guarantees for available bandwidth to aid in streaming, demonstrations, and simply using corporate VPNs. Average attendees might be subject to bandwidth throttling, lower priority of their packets, or other limits to further distinguish service.

In the majority of hot spots, 512 Kbps service will continue to be the average rule of the day, and most hot spot networks don't have the Starbucks burden weighing on their backs. But as bandwidth use increases across many kinds of applications, hot spots will increasingly need to plan for bandwidth front and center, rather than as a last detail in deployment.

Other News

iPass proposes standard gateway interface for roaming: the company hopes its proposal becomes a de facto method for a client to access any arbitrary network for authentication.

Motorola to extend Canopy networking to include unlicensed 5 GHz band: some technical details, but no pricing or availability. Motorola's thrust is odd: anyone can become an ISP. Yeah, if they have quite a lot of technical and business expertise. There are plenty of existing ISPs that will be delighted to have yet another tool in the final mile, point-to-point arsenal. [via Alan Reiter]

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 7:07 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 24, 2002

Indoor Fireworks

By Glenn Fleishman

Today's 802.11b Networking News is sponsored by IIR's Public Access Wireless LANs
, 1-3 October 2002, Lisbon

The above is a paid, sponsored link. Contact us for more information.

Government agency considering asking for changes in 5 GHz band rules: in a transparent move by the executive branch's spectrum policy stalking horse, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is considering asking the FCC for rule changes in the 5 GHz band in which 802.11a operates. The rule changes might restrict use to indoors only and significantly decrease range by limiting power. (A couple of the changes they ask for are already required in Europe, and manufacturers believe they're useful.) The reasons cited are vague, and in an era of increased government secrecy, may remain so.

The 5 GHz band is a rare chunk of open, useful bandwidth, and this trial balloon appears to be a proxy for companies who want to control the final mile. Occam's Razor argues for that, because any governmental agency that might have problems with this use of 5 GHz has had years to realize its impact. Every other potential interferring use in any band gets a remarkable amount of scrutiny and report writing. If 802.11a and other 5 GHz uses were truly a problem, we wouldn't be hearing about it in this form, this late.

Other News

HP enters WLAN installation/support business: HP joins IBM Global Services already long-established business of installing wireless LANs with full support. Many companies and venues have sat on the fence, looking at revenue and costs on the other side; HP intends to topple them into the WLAN briar patch, partnering with Cisco, Boingo, and others to offer the full wireless monty with the least amount of effort on the client's part.

Warchalking: this is too cool. Chalk a simple glyph to indicate where wireless bandwidth lies. A nice, harmless meme to spread that will surely catch on. Let's see, I'm carrying my laptop, my external antenna, my Macstumbler software, and my street chalk. Ready to go!

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 5:43 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 23, 2002

Cheap Gateways Revisited

By Glenn Fleishman

Revamped cheap home gateways matrix: The cheap home gateways article has been revamped to include this matrix that compares all the major gateway features across all the major inexpensive units.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 12:10 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 22, 2002

EtherLinx and Fax Machines

By Glenn Fleishman

TechTV talks to EtherLinx: EtherLinx made a big splash two weeks ago with a New York Times article about the founders working a few houses away from Apple's starting garage building a wireless device that combined long-range networking with local Wi-Fi service.

Unfortunately, all the pieces the founders are discussing just don't add up, and we don't have enough additional detail to make determinations about their innovation.

What they're doing is not unique at all: only the price is. They told John Markoff of the New York Times they were using a software radio, but at the same time, they said they were modifying off-the-shelf equipment. This shrinkwrapped equipment doesn't use a software-defined radio, but standard baseband chipsets that are wired to specific frequencies.

They said they are using a unique antenna: if the FCC hasn't approved their modified devices for starters, or approved them with their antenna, or approved their antenna, they're violating the law. They're running a trial in Oakland, but without certification, which their description of equipment makes it sound certain they need, they are operating outside of the regulatory guidelines for 2.4 GHz devices. (Some of what they're doing is pure Wi-Fi, but they couple that with their own lower-speed protocol that is probably running frequency hopping, like the older 802.11 standard.)

They said they will sell the thing for $150, but they're describing at least $150 in retail equipment plus a substantial amount of labor. To sell something for $150, it must cost you, all in (post-EBITDA with all overhead) much less than $120, which is what you need to sell it to retailers or partners for. Those partners and retailers may want a much lower wholesale price to sell the units at $150.

They seem amazed that they're running 20 miles at 2 Mbps. I can point to several hundred ISPs around the country running several miles with gear that costs $500 to $1000 per installation. On (and off) the coast of Maine, Midcoast Internet Solutions has been offering multi-mile, mult-deca-mile connections since 1997. They serve an island 20 miles off the coast, the only other connection to which is underground phone cable. I can point you to a number of people in the Bay Area running legal and skirting-the-issue multi-mile links.

Here's the fax machine part. The fax machine isn't innovative in its components. It was innovative in taking a cheap modem (originally, very slow), a cheap printer (originally and often still, thermal), and a cheap scanner (297 dpi in its last revision many years ago), and turning it into a package.

Likewise, it looks like EtherLinx is taking commodity equipment, the price of which continues to fall, and combining it into what could be the fax machine of wireless networking. But it ignores current market and financial realities: how are they doing what they claim to be doing when tallying the numbers just doesn't work? And, are they so misinformed about the state of wireless ISPs around the country that they believe they have come up with something entirely new instead of something merely convenient and cheap?

Showering the media with over-optimistic early information lacking technical detail is a great way to put off your potential market, which includes these wireless ISPs. If this Maine ISP, just for instance, could go to customers with a $150 device and a $50 to $100 install instead of the $800+ price tag associated today, they'd be overjoyed. It would also make Alvarion, Cisco, 3Com, and a few other firms tremble in their sales boots.

I hope to get the answers. After an initial response from the founders expressing interest in talking, no follow-up and no further response. I understand that they're overwhelmed. But I hope they'll spread a little more information instead of hype about what they've developed.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 5:26 PM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified


By Glenn Fleishman

Etherlinx... this sounds way too good to be true...
does anyone have more information about this company?

they are claiming a range of 50 miles ...,24195,3389078,00.html

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 5:19 PM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified | 1 Comment

June 21, 2002

Emerging Wireless Technologies in The Economic

By Glenn Fleishman

The Economist on emerging wireless technologies: Smart antennas, mesh networks, ad hoc architectures, and ultra-wideband transmission. Smart antennas are already in use and mesh networks are starting to appear, while ad hoc architectures and ultra-wideband are still largely restricted to the laboratory. But each challenges existing ways of doing things; each, on its own, or in combination with others, could shake up the wireless world.

Macworld Exhaustively Surveys Mac Access Points

Shelly Brisbin surveys seven Mac-compatible access points in Macworld: Shelly walks through standard features, installation problems, and a long comparison of seven access points that Mac users might consider. Many readers have written to tell me that some SMC and D-Link gear supports AppleTalk, but it appears to be works in progress. Great advice throughout the article as well as dead-on factual accuracy. (Disclosure: I'm a regular Macworld contributor and know Shelly, a regular reader of this site. But as regular readers know, I don't pull my punches.)

US Robotics 22 Mbps Devices

802.11 Planet tests the speed of US Robotics wireless suite using Texas Instruments's ACX100 chipset: The tests show about twice the throughput with TCP/IP traffic as with similar Wi-Fi equipment. The writer makes clear that his methodology is not a test lab, but rather a more informal setting (references are made to a pool). Also, the terminology is muddled in this piece: 802.11b is one spec; the ACX100 22 Mbps mode is not part of 802.11b, although the encoding, PBCC, will be an optional part of 802.11g. Finally, I wish my fellow journalists would stop claiming that 802.11g will run at 54 Mbps. It won't. It will support an encoding used at 54 Mbps in 802.11a, the 5 GHz band standard, but it will certainly not achieve superior data rates above the optional encodings developed by Intersil and Texas Instruments specifically for the 2.4 GHz band: 22 Mbps gross, not net throughput.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 10:07 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 20, 2002

News for 6/20/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

Ben Hammersley on Wi-Fi serendipity: Ben runs an open access point and meets interesting folks at the nearby cafe where users drop in to log on. Who'd he meet the other day? Doc Searls, blogger, raconteur, keynote addresser. Doc's account of the meeting. The danger from Wi-Fi ubiquity is that these serendipswitchidous encounters will taper off.

The Register reports on predictions of hot spot counts: Two reports they cite note that the number of public commercial hot spots are expected to be well over 45,000 by 2006.

Texas Instruments signs on SMC: in what may be another blow for chipmaker Intersil, Texas Instruments has signed on SMC Networks to use their ACX100 chips in future products, which have not yet been announced. The ACX100 chipset supports TI's PBCC encoding which is an optional flavor for 802.11g. Before 802.11g ratification, TI is pushed its faster-speed, 22 Mbps mode. I hope that they make it clear -- or their OEMs do -- whether products sold now will be flash-upgradable to 802.11g.

BusinessWeek weighs in, favoring 802.11a over Wi-Fi and 802.11g: some impeccable logic in why 802.11a is a better bet than 802.11g in the short-term and long-term. It doesn't incorporate technical and financial data, however, which we should start seeing real-world analyses of as 802.11a is deployed. It's great to say use 802.11a, but if you need a 2x or 3x denser installation for the same services, then it may be better to simply use RAID - redundant antennas with inexpensive devices.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 9:09 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 18, 2002

Roundup of 802.11 West

By Glenn Fleishman wraps up 802.11 West: yes, it's embarassing that I live in Seattle and was unable to get to this conference; fortunately, brighter minds than mind were paying close attention. (I'm moving offices shortly. Finding a notary public was quite a problem to execute the lease.)

Other News lowers free US shipping threshold to $49: This revised offer means that most Wi-Fi and 802.11a gear qualifies for free in-country shipping. Read the fine print.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 10:27 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 17, 2002

Proxim Acquires Agere's Orinoco Division

By Glenn Fleishman

Proxim Corporation to acquire Agere's wireless LAN division, including Orinoco product line: In news that will alter both consumer and enterprise Wi-Fi, Proxim announced this morning that it is buying Agere's Orinoco division along with other wireless networking products sold by the Lucent spinoff company.

Interestingly, Agere will continue to own its Wi-Fi manufacturing lines, which are much closer in spirit to the rest of the firm's offerings. Agere manufactures the components for Apple's AirPort line.

The press release gave a hint about Proxim's plans for 802.11b's migration to 802.11a: The transaction enables the company to immediately realize revenues from the world's largest installed user base of 802.11b infrastructure, which can in turn be upgraded to 802.11a technology over time.

The deal also includes a three-year contract for Agere to supply the components (chips and boards) to Proxim, and a settlement via cross-licensing of outstanding patent lawsuits. This is definitely a boost for both firms, reducing their expenses and fabrication costs, and removing costly litigation from their budgets.

Proxim's reinforced line-up coupled with their reasonable pricing, highly competitive at both the bottom and top end, could force price cutting or encourage mergers between other consumer Wi-Fi vendors. (The flip side, of course, is that many of the consumer Wi-Fi vendors are spending relatively little on research and development, and are mostly repackaging designs and firmware licensed from other companies.)

Proxim, in all its incarnations and source companies, including Mac-networking firm Farallon, has always developed good software for its good hardware. Agere's track record with Orinoco has been mixed, partly because of the company's transition, its initial focus on a high-end corporate market, and the speed of development that nimbler firms had hopped on.

My assessment: a big win for consumers and businesses alike.

Other News

Apple considers 802.11g enhancement for AirPort?: this is hardly news or a secret, but it neatly dovetails with today's Proxim/Agere announcement. When I spoke to Apple's wireless team about Bluetooth a few months ago, I asked about 802.11a and 802.11g, and they openly, for publication, stated that they were looking very closely at them and waiting for ratification and/or deployment. Apple is smart to not follow the 802.11a path, as, for their customers, 10/100/1000-Mbps Ethernet, which Apple has helped pioneer as a basic feature, is more important than early adoption of a higher-speed wireless spec. Rather, Apple should deploy 802.11g as soon as it's feasible (it's not ratified yet, and won't be potentially til next year) for AirPort 3.0 and make AirPort 4.0 a dual-radio a/g chipset.

One side note: the article linked to says that 802.11a and g both do 54 Mbps. Incorrect. 802.11g includes the 802.11a OFDM modulation as a mandatory encoding method, but that was done for comity, not for technical purposes, to bring TI and Intersil back to the table. No one I know claims that the 802.11a OFDM will bring 802.11g to 54 Mpbs. That's a nominal speed. The two optional encodings, OFDM-CCK and PBCC-CCK, are both clocked at 22 Mbps with a potential to go higher in future releases. Even the "54 Mbps" in 802.11 is really more like the mid-30 Mbps when you remove overhead and look at real throughput, according to early testing.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 6:12 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 16, 2002

Apple AirPort Security Key Primer

By Glenn Fleishman

A friend and colleague wrote asking for some tips as part of a presentation at a user group about a recent trip we all took (Geek Cruises' MacMania conference), and I thought it was worth sharing these Apple items.

(Remember that sells Apple's AirPort Base Station with free US shipping: link.)

When you're setting up an AirPort network that has mixed platforms, Macs and PCs, and using either the AirPort Base Station or another company's base station, you'll find yourself frustrated when you try to apply security.

AirPort's built-in security system, called WEP, works in a different way under the Mac OS and other systems.

On the Mac, you type in a short phrase as your password. On other systems and on non-Apple base stations, you enter a several digit hexadecimal code. For the shorter version of WEP, called 40, 56, or 64-bit (it's all identical), you enter five 2-digit hex numbers or a total of ten characters (like 1E 2B 3C 4F AA). For the longer WEP security key, 128 bits, you enter 14 hex numbers or 28 characters!

The trick is that to use the hexadecimal key with an Apple AirPort Card, you must enter a dollar-sign before the hex number, like


Likewise, if you have a PC client that wants to connect to an Apple AirPort Base Station, you need to determine its hex key by using the AirPort Admin Utility. Run the utility, connect to the base station, and with the older admin utility, select Network Equivalent Password from one of the menus; with the newer admin utility, click the Password icon at the top of the configuration window.

Enter that hex key in the PC client *without* the dollar sign in front of it, or just


If you are on a system that's using 128-bit WEP and your Macintosh won't join no matter what you try, you probably have an old AirPort card that only supported shorter keys. Apple's free AirPort software update will change the firmware in your card so that it now supports 128-bit keys. Go to Apple's site, click Support, and follow the links for software to download the latest release of AirPort. You can also use the Software Update control panel or system preference.

There's one other case in which you might need to enter something slightly different. Some PC systems use a passphrase like Apple's, but it doesn't work identically. If you use a passphrase on any card except Apple's AirPort, then to make it work with a Mac, you enter the passphrase in quotation marks when the password is asked for.

So, for instance, if a PC user enters


as their password, a Mac owner with an AirPort card enters


Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 5:44 PM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified | 2 Comments

June 14, 2002

Toshiba to Launch National Wi-Fi/3G Network

By Glenn Fleishman

InfoWorld reports Toshiba to launch a national, seamless, integrated Wi-Fi and 3G cellular network: Expected to be announced at PC Expo on June 25, Toshiba's network has few details yet available, like speed, locations, and cost.

Other News

Part 15 Smackdown: amateur radio association gets hit by the big boys: in what appears to be an overreaction (in the view of ARRL, the amateur radio association), a number of industry players filed comments objecting to the ARRL's petition regarding Part 15 operation in the 24 GHz (that's 24 not 2.4 GHz) band. The ARRL objected to the FCC's intention to allow higher-radiating unlicensed devices under the Part 15 rules which allow users without license to use certified equipment. These are the rules under which Wi-Fi and other consumer and enterprise networking systems work, as well as 2.4 GHz cordless phonse.

The ARRL categorized their petition as limited, but it's interesting to see how strong the response was by the group of companies selling and supporting Wi-Fi and related networking. Not only are these companies paying attention, but they're paying cash money to defend their turf, which happens to be our turf as well. More analysis is needed to understand whether the ARRL's stance would have weakened overall Part 15 rules (the industry's contention), or whether ARRL was attempting to draw a distinction between licensed and unlicensed uses in a single band (the ARRL's assertion). [via Scott at]

Secure Digital Wi-Fi cards on the way: the Secure Digital (SD) format is not only gaining popularity, but it's small and low-power.

Knight-Ridder general audience overview of wireless networking: my modesty forbears me mentioning the quote from my blog that appears in this article, but it's a nice, short, clear description of the current Bluetooth and 802.11 family protocols.

Apple tool for Windows users to manage AirPort Base Stations: I was completely unaware until reading this article that Apple offered this unsupported Windows utility to manage an AirPort Base Station. You can get a similar (or is it identical?) program from Orinoco, a free Windows program in the open-source world, or use a free Java utility, too, on any platform.

HP offers internal Wi-Fi print server for...$450?: don't ask me what lighter fluid the HP folks are sniffing, but they offer an internal Wi-Fi print server that fits in the slot of several models of printers. Now, $450 seems like a ridiculous sum, but I'm guessing that in the enterprise world, buying an all-in-one solution that has a single management interface and HP's world-class support makes it somehow more worthwhile than buying a $150 standalone Wi-Fi print spooler from any of a number of other companies.

Reuters reports on Bluetooth with a little bit on Wi-Fi: an interesting piece on the state of Bluetooth. What's fascinating about this piece is that it's a member of a category of articles on Bluetooth in the last few weeks in major publications that show the turning of the tide. With Bluetooth adapters and devices now shipping, its real utility is starting to show up, so reporters and tech columnist (like moi) can write about what it does, not what it's marketed as doing. I received a 3Com Bluetooth PC card today, and other devices are on the way. I should offer a real Bluetooth report in the near future.

Get Sharp! Wi-Fi projector?: I missed this story when it came out in March, but apparently these units are now shipping. For over $5,000, you can get a Wi-Fi equipped extremely bright and compact projector which, with the addition of Mac and PC software, can receive presentations in real-time over a network obviating the need to plug in individual devices. Keen. More recently, a few days ago, NEC announced a similar series that will ship this fall.

Singapore: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS: work is underway in Singapore to ensure seamless access across all three standards for maximum availability. Singapore has 40 hot spots according to this article.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 5:01 PM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 13, 2002

News for 6/13/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

Alan Reiter breaks the news on the European WISP partnership: Telia HomeRun, the largest European WISP network, has announced a partnership with Megabeam. Alan points out that this appears to be a work in progress, with the press release overstating what Megabeam's own Web site lists. However, the recent opening of Britain's 2.4 GHz band for commercial wireless networking a la Wayport/T-Mobile/Surf and Sip is certainly part of their key for expansion. Alan's report says that Megabeam says they'll be in a number of key airports, hotels, and other business locations by July. US partnerships can't be far behind given the market they're serving.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 8:22 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 12, 2002

A Cheap Bridge Arrives

By Glenn Fleishman

SmartBridges introduces a sub-$400 customer-premises outdoor generic Wi-Fi bridge: we'll be hearing a lot about this device as it meets virtually all of the needs of wireless ISPs as they attempt to inexpensively serve their customers from a few hundred feet to tens of miles away. It's a device intended to be placed at a customer's location (CPE or customer premises equipment), and it's ruggedized for outdoor performance in sub-zero to supra-100 temperatures at claimed distances of up to 21 miles line-of-sight.

It uses Power over Ethernet (PoE) and includes a 50-foot PoE cable. This eliminates an electrician's involvement in a customer install. The company's press release says they are certifying the device with many standard antennas, allowing FCC-legal deployment. (The FCC only certifies antennas with specific access points as complete systems. [Thanks to Tim Pozar and Jim Thompson for that education.])

The bridge works with any Wi-Fi access point, much like the 3Com Wireless Workgroup Bridge. Because of all of these factors, including its expected $379 list price, it's likely we'll see quite a lot of near-term testing of this equipment and, if it works as advertised, substantial use.

There is nothing like this on the market that works generically with any compliant Wi-Fi access point. The closest equipment requires specific vendor access points, like those available from Cisco, Alvarion, 3Com and others; they also typically cost substantially more.

If this device pans out, it is likely the first entry in a maturing but relatively unknown market (in the wider world) that companies like Musenki are already dedicated to serving, and for which EtherLinx was founded as well.

Hardware Roaming Isn't the Same as Single Billing

More excellent blogging from the 802.11 Planet conference in Philly: Alan Reiter notes that Stephanie Kesler blogged the panel he was moderating. (In more Ouroboros news, Alan discovered Stephanie's blog through this blog.) Here's's coverage.

Stephanie notes that T-Mobile, in the Q and A portion, said that roaming wasn't needed. Her paraphrase of their response: there is not a compelling need for true roaming because the spectrum is unlicensed and their network is easily accessible.

This is what MobileStar used to think, too, before they went bankrupt and T-Mobile/Deutsche Telecom acquired their assets. The T-Mobile folks believe that because they have Starbucks as their anchor partner with a multi-year exclusive arrangement, they will be able to set the tone and terms of roaming.

The market already belies this in several ways. First, Starbucks aren't uniformly distributed. Second, there will be signal competition at the most densely used Starbucks (part of Surf and Sip's original model), meaning that you won't have to sign onto T-Mobile even inside their "exclusive" venues. Third, the market will just be too big. So what if they have 3,000 Starbucks in 18 months all set to go if there are 25,000 access points overall? Their customers will demand roaming or find other venues and providers that do.

T-Mobile wisely points out that there's no barrier to switching at the hardware level, and this will enable the smartest, largest footprint, best organized provider or network partner to providers to be the most successful. MobileStar pursued one-year lock-in through their monthly plans; you had to pay a penalty to exit before a year was up. This might work in the cell world, but the best customers, travelling businesspeople, will migrate to the best service for the buck and mile.

Other News

An excellent run-down on the SF Bay community networking efforts: the San Francisco Bay Guardian writer captures the real feel of what's going on down there, or at least it matches my filter on the world.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 8:18 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 11, 2002

News for 6/11/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

Boingo partners with TSI, a cellular clearinghouse: Boingo's partnership with TSI, announced today, will allow Boingo to build a closer relationship with cell companies. TSI works to settle fees across cell networks, allowing seamless roaming. Boingo works to integrate wireless hot spot networks into their single-login, single-bill system. Cell companies that wanted to offer hot spot access as part of their plans will be able to work via TSI for billing and settlement, an important step in Boingo's expansion and the further integration of cell and Wi-Fi.'s coverage of Boingo/Earthlink deal: an Earthlink account logs you into Boingo's network at Boingo's prices. I question Charny's description of a Wi-Fi card as a modem, however. Technically, probably right, but it sounds odd.

Microsoft won't certify 802.11a-only gear: In an interesting effort that seems to have good intent behind it, Microsoft won't certify any 802.11a standalone gear, according to's Ben Charny. Rather, they will certify only dual radio devices, which should be available in large numbers by the fall. It's odd to use a technical certification to change market behavior. You don't need a certified driver to use 802.11a; regular drivers work, too. But users will be concerned by the warnings that Windows XP generates for drivers that aren't approved by Microsoft's testing lab. [via Olivier Travers and Alan Reiter]

The Gillmor Seal of Referral: I believe it counts as a Daily Double when both Gillmor brothers (Steve and Dan) refer to your blog in the space of two weeks. Thanks, gents. Dan, the tech columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, is one of my favorite reads, as he's been in the industry long enough to have developed the Howard Beale approach to industry lies and misdirection (a frighteningly appropriate quote from the frighteningly appropriately named Network with capitalization added: Go to your Windows, open your Windows, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"). Steve is the kinder, gentler alternative, filing a weekly inside back cover column for InfoWorld that keeps the knife well hidden inside the rolled-up publication.


Stephanie Kesler blogs the 802.11 Planet conference: an Alaskan involved in the wireless ISP world, Stephanie blogs the content and her observations.

Presenter Alan Reiter is also blogging the conference

Next week in Seattle, June 17-18, the eye for wireless conference focuses on IT and technical issues.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 8:01 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 10, 2002

News for 6/10/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

Boingo Partners with Earthlink

Earthlink and Boingo co-brand Boingo's service: Given that Earthlink founder and chairman Sky Dayton also founded Boingo it's not a huge surprise that the two companies found a way to work together. In practice, it's reducing the friction for the several million Earthlink customers to use Boingo's service, rather than offering any unique benefits. Pricing is the same. If Earthlink customers download the Boingo client from Earthlink's site, it's branded with Earthlink's colors instead of Boingo's. But anything that makes it easier for a subscriber to punch in account information and log on without having to go through hoops is yet another nail in the structure that allows Boingo to appear to one monolithic network to its users.

Dvorak Dances on Satellite Radio's Not Yet Dug Grave?

Industry pundit John Dvorak points out how satellite radio may be over before it's begun: I point to this article because of the recent brou-ha-ha over the satellite digital radio companies' attempt to get the FCC to rejigger nearby spectrum neighbors' rules. Dvorak points out the weaknesses in the current generation of satellite radio, and it's a clearly high hurdle to overcome. Instead of satellite radio, how about low-bandwidth (plain 802.11) spread along the highways and commuting corridors, letting you listen to 30 kbps multicast signals from dozens of stations?

Final Mile for $100 or Less

Etherlinx tests final mile, sub-$100 solution for wireless links: Today's New York Times carries a story by John Markoff about Etherlinx, a company modifying off-the-shelf hardware to create a two-radio device with an antenna that handles both the long-distance link (20 miles) and the local area link (Wi-Fi). (I noted this story briefly yesterday at the bottom fo the Illuminating RF Lighting article.)

I have a number of suppositions about what this company is doing, which I hope to confirm in a phone call in the next day or so. First, it's likely they're modifying PC cards, not access points. Second, Intersil chips are almost certainly at the center of their product. Third, the $100 price tag sounds like a "when we're in widescale production" target, but the current price might not be far off that. Fourth, they're writing their own microcode, or the instructions that direct the lowest-level radio layer. Fifth, while they're using Wi-Fi in one radio to handle the local network, the other radio is running a variant on 802.11 using frequency hopping.

More on the above as it's confirmed or explained.

Other News for 6/10/2002

The Earth's a Big Blue Broadband: IBM decides that it should simply impose a technically excellent solution to bind all wireless networks into a seamless virtual LAN. Yeah, sounds great. Dismissing Boingo and other players, IBM's advance guard marches bravely into the quicksand, choking out a merry song as they vanish without a trace. If the industry to date has taught us anything, it's that there is no industry: no monolithic presence that dominates any part of wireless public space hot spots. Rather, many companies working independently and occasionally in concert will build the backbone of this new entity, and Boingo and others will bind together the infrastructure. Cell companies and deep-pocketed others may arrive and buy up chunks or spew hot spots out with a vengeance, throwing 1,000 up in a quarter. But real estate is still real estate: you can't cover everywhere; no one can afford that, and no one has access to everywhere. Wave to the nice people at IBM: buh-bye, buh-bye.

England legalizes commercial wireless networks: a small regulatory change opens the market to wireless ISPs in England, including both the final-mile, point-to-point variety and the Wayport/T-Mobile kind. [via Julian Bond]

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 9:30 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 9, 2002

Illuminating RF Lighting

By Glenn Fleishman

Yesterday's entry about the Robert X. Cringely column discussing the interference issue with Wi-Fi was apparently too obscure for many people. I understand that: it was written as a reaction to an article that explained some of the issues involved, but my response required a lot of knowledge of the area.

Here's a shorter, more comprehensible version of the same article. The executive summary: Other uses of the 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) band that's the home of Wi-Fi may result in such widespread interference that Wi-Fi networks won't be possible indoors or outdoors in many urban areas. That's the long and short of it.

The longer version is that Wi-Fi (or 802.11b or AirPort) doesn't live in its spectrum neighborhood by itself. As I've written in the last few weeks, there are not only licensed neighbors as varied as TV stations' video uplinks, law enforcement, and amateur radio operators -- each of which requires specific permission to use these frequencies -- but also other unlicensed uses which can produce signals that muddle Wi-Fi's transmission.

Unlicensed uses include what the FCC calls Part 15 devices, which includes Wi-Fi, 802.11a, Bluetooth, HomeRF, and cordless phones, as well as Part 18 devices which are used for scientific, industrial, or medical uses. The equipment maker must get FCC approval for specific devices and combinations of equipment -- like an access point with a specific antenna attached -- but the end users and purchasers can use the equipment without requiring any involvement with the FCC whatsoever.

Unlicensed Part 15 equipment is follows a spec that allows it to work over short distances and produce limited interference so that many similar devices can work within relatively small areas without interrupting the utility of any other. If you have two or more uses that overlap and interfere, you can get the FCC to intervene, or try to work it out yourself.

Part 18 equipment has a different set of specifications, but because Part 18 devices typically don't carry data (not in any example I've seen, at least), they don't have the non-interferring requirement, either.

Steve Stroh, the writer, editor, and publisher of Focus on Broadband Wireless Internet Access last summer identified a strong candidate for causing interference: RF (radio frequency) lighting. RF lighting uses radio waves to illuminate lamps. It's apparently very efficient in a number of ways and could radically reduce the cost of exterior lighting.

Read Stroh's article for the full scoop; I won't simply reiterate his points here. He raised this alarm last summer, and Cringely's column is, in part, about how no one else appears to be aware of or is alarmed by this coming problem.

Because RF lighting is an industrial use, it will spew frequency all over the place. While Wi-Fi is good at sorting out signal from noise, there's a potential that RF lighting will sufficiently obscure data to render Wi-Fi networks, especially outdoor hot spot networks useless.

As Stroh and Cringely noted, and I expanded on in my article yesterday, there's a simple solution already well underway. The FCC opened the 5 GHz band (nearly 300 MHz of spectrum in three chunks) for unlicensed Part 15 devices. There are practically no users in this space, and the 802.11a (soon to be known as Wi-Fi5) protocol is designed for 5 GHz.

802.11a has some limits in terms of distance and penetration, so that different system designs will be needed to use 802.11a in areas that currently use Wi-Fi. But it's an uncluttered space that has the potential for greater density of overlapping networks. 802.11a runs at 54 Mbps (raw) compared with Wi-Fi's 11 Mbps, and 22 Mbps with Wi-Fi's 2.4 GHz successor, 802.11g.

Also, as a deployment issue, Wi-Fi has just three channels that can be used at the same time in the same space without causing interference; 802.11a has 12, eight of which are supported by the first-generation equipment.

This fall, we will see many devices that can handle both Wi-Fi and 802.11a, which will aid a transition, especially in corporations to using 802.11a equipment instead of Wi-Fi.

With the millions of Wi-Fi devices already installed, and millions more being sold this year, it's a hard egg to suck when we all tell you that Wi-Fi won't be the technology of the future. But it's increasingly likely that Wi-Fi's place will be remanded to interior applications far from industrial users (your next-door neighbor probably doesn't have a microwave-based plastic sealer) and RF lighting installations.

Etherlinx Couples Radios

John Markoff describes a quiet, inexpensive startup, Etherlinx, that plans to change the face of the final mile: New York Times reporter Markoff details how two innovators a few doors down from Apple's historic garage are taking off-the-shelf Wi-Fi cards, installing their own firmware, and producing CPE (customer premises equipment) devices for less than $100. The dual-radio design allows them to run a long-distance high-bandwidth connection relayed to a local Wi-Fi network. What's unique about this product is that it's a single device and it's cheap. You can assemble equipment like this for $500 to $1000 using telco-grade systems, or you can cobble it together for much less, but still a few hundred dollars and a fair amount of configuration and some supporting devices. More information as it appears.

Wireless Overview

Comprehensive overview of the state of wireless networking:'s newest reporter, Brian Morrissey, presents a superb and comprehensive overview of what's what in Wi-Fi or other 802.11 specs today.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 11:34 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 7, 2002

The Night the Lights Went Out in Wi-Fi

By Glenn Fleishman

My colleague and friend Dori Smith has every confidence in me that I'll analyze the latest and greatest Wi-Fi news. Fortunately, I beat her 24-hour deadline with the following.

Robert X. Cringely writes about the threats to Wi-Fi's band and the nature of interference and the FCC: he's absolutely right on all counts. Steve Stroh will get credit when the day comes that cities light up their night skies with RF systems, and all of our 2.4 gigahertz networks sputter and fail. It won't happen all at once, and we have an exit plan.

As I wrote yesterday, 5 GHz, the band in which 802.11a operates, may become increasingly popular in the way that the open frontier always has a ring to it: you need some land, and your neck of the woods is full of houses and hotels. Time to head out to uncharted wilderness where you won't bump elbows with neighbors or natives. (This frontier doesn't have existing inhabitants, unlike the American West.)

Put it another way with another metaphor: when this planet is too polluted to live on, we all hop on our rockets and fly to the next one. Over the next few months, we will see many examples of dual-band radios that will incorporate both 802.11a and 802.11b/g. These radios will be both in PC cards, PCI cards, and access points. If 2.4 GHz becomes untenable, we may find ourselves already with enough equipment to make simple transitions up the spectrum.

Steve is right to wave a bloody shirt about RF lighting because the impact hasn't been raised yet to general consciousness, despite his lengthy and earnest article last summer and a recent Slashdot of same.

RF Lighting isn't all of the problem, of course, just one of a myriad of elements, as Cringely writes. There are a lot of interferring devices and uses that I've written about in the last few weeks that may increasingly hamper deployment of Wi-Fi networks. And a lot of competing services that haven't so far had to worry about deep-pocketed neighbors who want to want through the FCC complaint process. As noted a few weeks ago, only a single letter has ever been issued (not a complaint, just a warning letter) about interference between a licensed and non-licensed user of the 2.4 GHz space. I can't find anything about competing unlicensed uses.

Cringely points out, rightly as well, that frequency hopping works quite well in spaces that direct sequence (Wi-Fi's method) does not. A number of point-to-point firms I've spoken to, like the ISP on the coast of Maine I've written about before, use 802.11FH for this very reason. FH may again become popular for certain kinds of links. HomeRF has a leg up in this department as well with their FH-based technology.

We're not going to see immediate widespread failure of Wi-Fi as a spec. But we will witness ever more incidents that make us question how we continue to deploy it. The 5 GHz band has its own limitations, but a lot of benefits, and any intelligent information systems consultant or manager would be looking very closely into the future of 802.11a.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 1:17 PM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 6, 2002

News for 6/6/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

Got Sirius: David Sifry reports via Carl Stevenson, an IEEE group chair that Sirius has withdrawn their petition on the issue of out-of-band emissions from the 2.4 GHz band. This is a good development. Had Sirius succeeded, the impact would have been forward directed -- older devices would have been unaffected -- but the costs were unknown.

Green Packet and WiFi Metro: Green Packet is conducting field tests of their devices that will allow seamless Wi-Fi and cellular data roaming. WiFi Metro will be an early partner in these tests. Pricing and other details are not yet available, as it appears this is just early proof of concept, but using real devices.

Boingo Model: A colleague wrote in to note that he had received information from Boingo on their revenue sharing. Boingo will pay you $1.00 every time a Boingo member connects to one of your hot spots....Boingo will pay you $20 every time you sign up a Boingo subscriber who remains a member for 60 days.

Apple cites Wi-Fi as important part of Apple Store strategy: need a hot spot and near one of the couple dozen Apple Stores? Drop on by. According to this story electronically reprinted at, 20 percent of people buying Macs from an Apple Store also purchase AirPort components.

European public Wi-Fi lags, but interest rises: the International Herald Tribune covers the state of Wi-Fi across Europe, noting that Telia HomeRun is the biggest single installation. Analysts predict 17,000 hot spots by 2006. [via Olivier Travers]

Nashville Wi-Fi use: an excellent article on the expanding use of Wi-Fi in public spaces in Nashville. [via William Crook]

Media Center for World Cup: Wi-Fi everywhere: The World Cup's media center uses Wi-Fi extensively across many locations in Japan and Korea, allowing electronic roaming access for reporters, including photographers. [via Gen Kanai]

Excellent AP story details the future of interference: the story lays the facts out without hype or error about some of the challenges of the 2.4 GHz band. Folks, with RF lighting (radio waves used to create illumination), more industrial devices, and miscellaneous other problems, we may all find ourselves journeying to the new world of 5 GHz. I doubt it will happen fast, and 5 GHz has its own challenges. But it is uncrowded.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 8:23 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

Wi-Fi amplifiers

By Glenn Fleishman

Hi all,

I am looking for an WiFi amplifier.

Yogi antenna (point to point) will work, but i would like to pump up the power a little bit (maybe 3 watts)


Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 5:27 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 5, 2002

Boxing Boingo

By Glenn Fleishman

Boingo Networks expands, offers turnkey solution: Boingo Networks, an aggregator service offering a single-bill encryption-enabled front-end to dozens of for-fee wireless networks, made several announcements today. Prime among them is the addition to their network of Airpath Wireless, a provider with a number of key airport hot spots located in AirTran Airways boarding areas. This adds 10 airports to Boingo's list which will shortly grow to 26; the rest are mostly via Wayport.

Boingo also announced a deal with Colubris Networks to offer Hot-Spot-in-a-Box, a fully configured access point ready to join Boingo's network. The price is $895; revenue sharing information was not made available. Boingo has produced a specification as well that would allow other manufacturers to create fully compliant access points with turnkey ease. Nomadix and Agere are already signed on; Nomadix made its announcement alongside Boingo in March.

Boingo didn't mention this as an announcement, but they offer service via The Gate Escape in the Los Angeles International Airport in Terminal 7 (United) in the Business Center. Slowly, we're achieving West Coast wireless connectivity.

Boingo's current list of AirPath airports are: Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland (BWI); Flint, Michigan (Bishop); Boston's Logan Airport (BOS); Greensboro, North Carolina (Piedmont Triad); Dayton, Ohio (James M. Cox); Philadelphia; Dallas; and Houston. According to their list of future sites in their database, these additional airports will be available: Atlanta (Hartsfield); Buffalo, New York; Canton, Ohio; Newark, New Jersey (also a Concourse location for the future); Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi; La Guardia (ditto for Concourse); Chicago (Midway, the increasingly popular secondary airport); Miami, Florida; Minneapolis (already served by Concourse); Newport News, Virginia; Pittsburgh; Toledo, Ohio; and Tampa, Florida.

Boingo's plans continue to make sense as they attempt to expand their network. Nonetheless, Sky Dayton's prediction of 4,000 hot spots by year's end is still about 90 percent short. The next few months should be key ones for them as various partners not yet hooked up finalize their arrangements.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 9:28 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 4, 2002

News for 6/4/2002

By Glenn Fleishman

I'm back in Seattle recovering from my working vacation, so news will start up in earnest in the next few days.

Free Web broadcast on wireless fixed broadband service: the Information Technology Association of America is offering a free Web broadcast on June 7 at 11 a.m. US Eastern time by Thomas Bowden, a business adviser.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 10:15 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

June 3, 2002

Newsweek on Wi-Fi

By Glenn Fleishman

Newsweek on Wi-Fi: Newsweek weighs in via a balanced report on Wi-Fi's origins, uses, and community purpose.

The warm glow of Wi-Fi: On the MacMania Geek Cruise this last week, speakers and attendees enjoy the warm glow of Wi-Fi in the ship's library and adjoining rooms. In this early successful test of the use of Wi-Fi on a ship relayed via satellite, instead of providing it everywhere, coverage was limited. This turned out to be a social experience. The library became a focal point of the cruise where discussions ranged far beyond the Mac and computing -- and the noise level was often to the chagrin of other cruisers who had no idea who we were.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 7:33 AM | Permanent Link | Categories: Unclassified

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