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Cold, hard hot spot dollars and sense from the New York Times: A veteran business reporter casts a cold eye -- although one in concert with most analysts and observers -- on the current potential of Wi-Fi hot spots to make money. It's clear to me that we're entirely in an experimental stage, and anyone with a business plan to turn a profit within two years on their whole network, not just locations within, should be looked at carefully.
Cometa equals rural electrification? From what I can tell from reading coverage of Cometa's plans -- the partnership of AT&T, IBM, and Intel to build Wi-Fi infrastructure -- they're really not rolling out 50,000 hot spots in 50 metro areas. If you read closely what they've announced, they're just opening for business, hoping that real-estate venues will pay them to build infrastructure for them. It could work: Fortune 5000 firms are unlikely to pick small players to partner with. Airports that have been on the fence might more likely pay millions to Cometa than to a firm only in business a year or two with a few million in billings. The coverage of Cometa has been like the invention of electricity, while I would liken it more to rural electrification. It's not sexy, it might not even be needed, but it'll take a lot of money -- and not money from the users, but from the folks who want to charge people for the juice.
If it's Sunday night, it must be Supernova 2002: Last week, glorious Santa Clara; this week, lovely Palo Alto. For the next two days, I'm at Supernova 2002, a conference about ideas about the intersection of business, policy, and technology. Many buddies will be speaking, and many people I've been dying to meet or hear speak will also be in attendance.
Aggregating heterogenous WLANs: It's not a sexy topic for those of you outside the enterprise, but I've learned quite a bit in the last week about the status of managing large numbers of WLAN access points that aren't made by the same company (i.e,. Cisco or Proxim). More details as time allows, but the bottom line is that WLAN managers don't have to buy $500 to $1000 access points and suffer equipment lock-in to get the benefit of mass aggregated AP management.