The Martian NetDrive Wireless: 40 gigabytes of small, silent, 802.11b filesharing
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What's the Boingo and T-Mobile Deal Mean, Anyway? A colleague and I wrote back and forth about the deal announced yesterday that puts Boingo clients on T-Mobile's customers' computers -- but doesn't merge networks. He said, Today, when I sit down in Starbucks, Boingo pops up and associates me with a T-Mobile hotspot. I type my password into the Web page that automatically shows up, and T-Mobile charges me. He asked, what changes with the new deal?
Boingo is a software company disguised as a network company, so that's the confusion.
Boingo has a software product that works on clients and a server product that works on back-office stuff. The client software sniffs and detects any network connections, but identifies those that are part of its network -- whether that's Boingo's own branded service if you're using Boingo service or T-Mobile or some other company if you're using a "skinned" Boingo client that belongs to them.
When you are on Boingo's network of partner hot spots, you don't sign onto an access point and then a Web page. You just click "connect and pay" (or whatever it says) inside your Boingo client and you're on. No authentication gateway Web page.
T-Mobile is using a gateway Web page. When you use your Boingo client on their network in the currenet scenario, Boingo's client sniffs the T-Mobile hot spot access point, but merely connects you to -- it doesn't have a relationship with that hot spot.
In the T-Mobile/Boingo deal as announced, T-Mobile will adopt Boingo's client with a T-Mobile logo on it, but not Boingo's network. If you're using the T-Mobile client as developed by Boingo, you'll only be able to directly sign on (without a gateway page) to T-Mobile hot spots. T-Mobile will also use Boingo's software on the back end for billing, tracking, and authentication.
For the time being, you could wind up with both T-Mobile (Boingo) software installed that works with just T-Mobile's networks and Boingo (Boingo) software installed that works just with Boingo's partners like Wayport and Surf and Sip and Fatport.
It's confusing, but I don't expect it'll last long. Networks want to merge; it's an axiom.
Dude, Where's My Bandwidth?
Qualcomm CEO makes me laugh, frown, shake my head: This article reports from the CTIA (cell industry trade group) conference in New Orleans, and summarizes many of this week's announcements and the future direction of cell-data. The Yankee Group, probably Sarah Kim, estimates only 30,000 paying customers by the end of 2003, but I think that means monthly subscribers.
The quotes from Qualcomm chief Irwin Jacobs crack me up, however. The article notes Qualcomm invented Verizon's EvDO network technology, and notes that Jacobs believes Wi-Fi's appeal will fade once Verizon's technology is available nationwide. "If you have coverage everywhere, are you going to be willing to pay an additional cost for it when you go into a hotspot?" Jacobs said.
Dude, you're a laugh riot! Hot spot users might number a few dozens or, at worst, a few hundred with a robust Ethernet-like local wireless network that will mediate access to somewhere between 512 Mbps and 8 Mbps of upstream and probably something less downstream. Adding additional wireless access points and capacity will be trivial and relatively inexpensive if it's based on paying users.
Verizon has limited frequencies available to offer their high-speed coverage, and if it becomes successful, they can't just layer more bandwidth on. Adding cell sites is increasingly costly and difficult because of health and civic complaints, however justified. And they can't create micro-pico-cells very easily. Wi-Fi is almost inherently extensible. With current technology you could have a pool of a raw 200 Mbps or so (four barely overlapping 802.11g channels) in the US without very much expense over 11 Mbps. With a future Vivato switch, 600 Mbps would be possible or more in a single area. Of course, you won't have the upstream or downstream bandwidth, but the ability to keep data density and plug into backhaul is the Wi-Fi advantage.
EvDO, depending on its pricing, will almost certainly be one of the technologies that makes data ubiquitous, but it's only a complement based on the regulatory, spectrum, and physical limits on cell data coverage and capacity.