Uptown Services will offer independent performance evaluations of large-scale Wi-Fi networks: The company consults on municipal networks already, and is in discussions with one city for testing, IDG News Service reports. Uptown will gather data at discrete points across the service area, and will test voice connections as well. I happen to know that some prominent wireless industry veterans are in a quiet period preceding their own launch of another metro-scale testing firm, too. The idea of having pilot projects and test periods for large networks is great, but having independent, qualified firms to evaluate the performance is best.
It seems like this push for carrier grade on wide-area WiFi is killing whatever cost advantage it had over licensed WiMax. Yes licenses are expensive, but if you are this serious about O&M, they tend to be worth it. I guess the remaining hurdle with licensed spectrum is that too many licenses are being hoarded by people who's main goal is stopping potential competition from using them.