Email Delivery

Receive new posts as email.

Email address

Syndicate this site

RSS | Atom


About This Site
Contact Us
Privacy Policy


November 2010
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

Stories by Category

Basics :: Basics
Casting :: Casting Listen In Podcasts Videocasts
Culture :: Culture Hacking
Deals :: Deals
Future :: Future
Hardware :: Hardware Adapters Appliances Chips Consumer Electronics Gaming Home Entertainment Music Photography Video Gadgets Mesh Monitoring and Testing PDAs Phones Smartphones
Industry :: Industry Conferences Financial Free Health Legal Research Vendor analysis
International :: International
Media :: Media Locally cached Streaming
Metro-Scale Networks :: Metro-Scale Networks Community Networking Municipal
Network Types :: Network Types Broadband Wireless Cellular 2.5G and 3G 4G Power Line Satellite
News :: News Mainstream Media
Politics :: Politics Regulation Sock Puppets
Schedules :: Schedules
Security :: Security 802.1X
Site Specific :: Site Specific Administrative Detail April Fool's Blogging Book review Cluelessness Guest Commentary History Humor Self-Promotion Unique Wee-Fi Who's Hot Today?
Software :: Software Open Source
Spectrum :: Spectrum 60 GHz
Standards :: Standards 802.11a 802.11ac 802.11ad 802.11e 802.11g 802.11n 802.20 Bluetooth MIMO UWB WiGig WiMAX ZigBee
Transportation and Lodging :: Transportation and Lodging Air Travel Aquatic Commuting Hotels Rails
Unclassified :: Unclassified
Vertical Markets :: Vertical Markets Academia Enterprise WLAN Switches Home Hot Spot Aggregators Hot Spot Advertising Road Warrior Roaming Libraries Location Medical Public Safety Residential Rural SOHO Small-Medium Sized Business Universities Utilities wISP
Voice :: Voice


November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | August 2010 | July 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | April 2010 | March 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | December 2009 | November 2009 | October 2009 | September 2009 | August 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | March 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | December 2008 | November 2008 | October 2008 | September 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2008 | February 2008 | January 2008 | December 2007 | November 2007 | October 2007 | September 2007 | August 2007 | July 2007 | June 2007 | May 2007 | April 2007 | March 2007 | February 2007 | January 2007 | December 2006 | November 2006 | October 2006 | September 2006 | August 2006 | July 2006 | June 2006 | May 2006 | April 2006 | March 2006 | February 2006 | January 2006 | December 2005 | November 2005 | October 2005 | September 2005 | August 2005 | July 2005 | June 2005 | May 2005 | April 2005 | March 2005 | February 2005 | January 2005 | December 2004 | November 2004 | October 2004 | September 2004 | August 2004 | July 2004 | June 2004 | May 2004 | April 2004 | March 2004 | February 2004 | January 2004 | December 2003 | November 2003 | October 2003 | September 2003 | August 2003 | July 2003 | June 2003 | May 2003 | April 2003 | March 2003 | February 2003 | January 2003 | December 2002 | November 2002 | October 2002 | September 2002 | August 2002 | July 2002 | June 2002 | May 2002 | April 2002 | March 2002 | February 2002 | January 2002 | December 2001 | November 2001 | October 2001 | September 2001 | August 2001 | July 2001 | June 2001 | May 2001 | April 2001 |

Recent Entries

In-Flight Wi-Fi and In-Flight Bombs
Can WPA Protect against Firesheep on Same Network?
Southwest Sets In-Flight Wi-Fi at $5
Eye-Fi Adds a View for Web Access
Firesheep Makes Sidejacking Easy
Wi-Fi Direct Certification Starts
Decaf on the Starbucks Digital Network
Google Did Snag Passwords
WiMax and LTE Not Technically 4G by ITU Standards
AT&T Wi-Fi Connections Keep High Growth with Free Service

Site Philosophy

This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator. Part of the FM Tech advertising network.


Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2010 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.

Powered by
Movable Type

« Easing Wi-Fi Security with Simple Config (Not Its Real Name) | Main | Air-to-Ground Auction Finally Over »

June 1, 2006

M2Z Offers National Transport for Precious Spectrum

 Images Logo2M2Z has hundreds of millions of dollars poised to start building a national backbone: All they need is sweet, sweet spectrum. This new firm burst into broadband consciousness just two weeks ago when it filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking for 20 MHz of spectrum with a 15-year license at no cost (2155-2175 MHz).

M2Z promises to use this spectrum provide free, advertising-supported 384 Kpbs/128 Kpbs Internet service to 95 percent of the U.S. population alongside premium offerings of about 3 Mbps. They promise to deploy immediately and guarantee to meet deployment targets over a 10 year period, starting with 33 percent coverage within three years of the license grant. 

What they offer in return is five percent of gross receipts for their premium service, which will run about 3 Mpbs.

I spoke to co-founder John Muleta, a former FCC bureau chief and executive at PSINet, and Michael Howse, co-founder and chief executive of PacketHop, a strategic partner for public safety with M2Z, about the need for M2Z in an era of increasing wireless options, the content filtering on their free service, and the technology that will drive their efforts.

Muleta said the motivation for this network was the lack of reach for Internet access. "The one universal truth is that there's market failure to provide people with a universal, affordable access," he said. While metro-scale networks using Wi-Fi are proliferating, Muleta said that what they're proposing restores Wi-Fi back to a local area networking technology, its designed purpose, by providing backhaul using technology designed for wide area purposes. "We are neither opposed to nor critique municipal systems; we think they'll be part of the mix," Muleta said. Muleta thought M2Z could make it substantially less difficult and expensive to deploy metro-scale Wi-Fi, in fact.

Howse noted that by having backhaul available everywhere in a licensed band it will be easier for Wi-Fi networks to provide high-bandwidth local communications. PacketHop offers mesh equipment, and Howse envisions offloading to peer-to-peer networks a good portion of traffic that now, by necessity, passes through metro-scale Wi-Fi nodes. "You're really decreasing the tax on some of the backhaul requirements by maintaining some of these local communications when they can be," said Howse.

Both Howse and Muleta emphasize how edge applications will be able to flourish on the M2Z network as they will be a mostly neutral, non-discriminatory host. Our fundamental goal is to "make transport a non-issue so that edge applications can deliver," Muleta said. They'll encourage manfacturers to produce consumer premises equipment (CPE) devices that couple their wireless standard for backhaul with Wi-Fi for local distribution. Their interest isn't limited to Wi-Fi, but that seems like the most logical first wave.

The M2Z approach is essentially a flavor of the 802.16-2005 standard (formerly 802.16e), which includes fixed, nomadic/portable, and mobile wireless connectivity. They'll use the OFDMA standard that's part of 802.16-2005 with beamforming through multiple antennas--what they call advanced antenna systems or AAS--and time division duplexing (TDD), which allows dynamic asymmetric network usage. With 20 MHz to play with, they could dedicate 1.25 MHz to the free service and still have three 5 MHz channels or one 5 MHz and one 10 MHz channel, based on current WiMax Forum generic profiles for service.

M2Z has received a fair amount of criticism over their promise to filter pornographic and related content over their free service. Muleta says this is a red herring. Muleta said that given that they will provide access to anyone eventually nearly anywhere in the U.S., they have significant liability concerns about allowing minors to have unfettered access, as this might put them afoul of state and federal laws--especially since they expect schools to take advantage of the free service. Muleta said their premium service will be unfiltered, unless requested, as they will have a billing relationship with premium customers that will allow age verification.

I tried to strike up a discussion of net neutrality, but Muleta, old FCC hand that he is, is focused more on the competitive aspects than the social and political ones; as a new provider, he wouldn't want formal neutrality requirements. From Muleta and Howse's descriptions, however, they don't plan to limit what devices can use the network, will not require certification or approval of third-party devices (the more, the better, Muleta says), nor discriminate on the basis of services used. This is a fair amount of neutrality, although the devil is in the details if they decide port blocking is part of filtering or that swarming is inappropriate. (Several users with the right kind of peer-to-peer software could pull down pieces of large files at the full network download level and combine them over Wi-Fi, for instance.)

In other words, it might not be a "stupid" network, but they're not making noises about how it might be smart, either. "Let lots of applications bloom," Muleta said, and both he and Howse emphasized the critical importance of edge applications, which is a very "stupid network" view. Neither wanted to talk much about voice over IP, because, they said, they don't want to limit the discussion to just that service.

One of Howse's key messages for this bandwidth chunk is that it can be an additional, unencumbered, prioritized, and free method for ubiquitous access for public safety (fire, police, emergency, and first responders). PacketHop already sells into that market, and M2Z promises to allow unlimited public safety users. They envision this as potentially secondary to the 4.9 GHz public safety band, but the characteristics of M2Z's network will be broader coverage.

The FCC has, in the past, allotted spectrum for particular purposes, but there's no way to predict whether they'll have any truck with this proposal; nor, if they agree with its terms, to know how many (if any) lawsuits will be filed by potential competitors in the cellular data and wireless broadband industries.

At this stage, everything is speculation. M2Z sees themselves as providing a vital service conforming to the goals of U.S. broadband initiatives, while filling a gap for small businesspeople who's other alternative is typically a wired T-1 line. By the time M2Z could deploy, it's possible that their impending entry into the market would have fundamentally transformed the nature of wireless services.

With Verizon Wireless sending out cancellation letters about non-typical bandwidth use in violation of their extremely restrictive policies of use--email, surfing, intranet apps--on their EVDO network, it's very easy to see how 20 MHz could provide unencumbered, nonrestrictive bandwidth that would be a giant threat to cell providers, wireless ISPs, and wireline T-1.