Wireless

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Has the FCC Created a Stone Too Heavy for It to Lift?

After five years of bickering, the FCC passed an Open Internet Report & Order on a partisan 3-2 vote this week. The order is meant to guarantee that the Internet of the future will be just as free and open as the Internet of the past. Its success depends on how fast the Commission can transform itself from an old school telecom regulator wired to resist change into an innovation stimulator embracing opportunity. One thing we can be sure about is that the order hasn't tamped down the hyperbole that's fueled the fight to control the Internet's constituent parts for all these years. more»

A Balkanized Internet Future?

Joi Ito has an important post [also featured on CircleID] on how the internet is in danger of becoming balkanized into separate "internets". He's not the only person who's concerned. Greg Walton worries about Regime Change on the Internet. My friend Tim Wu, a law professor specializing in international trade and intellectual property, has written an article for Slate: The Filtered Future: China's bid to divide the Internet... more»

IPv6 and LTE, the Not So Long Term Evolution?

The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T saw wireless networks about to drown under a deluge of data. To see YouTube content uploaded form an iPhone or Slingbox rerouting a favourite television program to your smart phone gives mobile network operators the shivers. Skype over 3G in the meantime gives sleepless nights, not because of surging megabyte floods but due to nightmares of considerable voice and roaming revenues washing away. Not easy to plan and engineer "managed transitions" under those circumstances. more»

Another Wrong-Headed WSJ Editorial

Those wacky editorial writers at the Wall Street Journal just cannot seem to get the facts straight about network neutrality and what the FCC has done or can do on this matter. In the July 30, 2008 edition (Review and Outlook A14), the Journal vilifies FCC Chairman Kevin Martin for starting along the slippery slope of regulating Internet content. The Journal writers just seem to love hyperbole, and are not beyond ignoring the facts when they do not support a party line. Here are a few examples from the editorial... more»

No Spectrum Shortage, Just an Allocation Problem

As a new study from Citi Investment Research & Analysis make clear, the US does not have a spectrum shortage. We've just allowed a relatively small number of carriers to control the spectrum. ... Perhaps if we had an effective "use it or lose it" policy in place, or a heavy tax on unused spectrum a more vibrant market for this spectrum would emerge. more»

Network Neutrality in the Wireless Space

There's been a tremendous amount written about the Google-Verizon joint proposal for network neutrality regulation. Our commentary at the EFF offers some legal analysis of the good and bad in this proposal. A lot of commentary has put a big focus on the exemption for wireless networks, since many feel wireless is the real "where it's gonna be," if not the "where it's at" for the internet. more»

The Greatest Free Riders of Our Time

Former Southwestern Bell CEO, now General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre famously accused Google of free-riding his network, despite the obvious truth that Google pays for traffic delivery to peering points and ISPs gladly enter into reciprocal peering agreements in lieu of cash transactions that would likely result in a near zero payment as roughly equivalent traffic balances out. Mr. Whitacre did raise a legitimate question whether there are free riders and I'm seeing one darling and one unexpected group flying below the radar. more»

Bandwidth: Why Fast is Important in a Global Economy

Bandwidth is the basic foundation for Internet traffic as a connector to everything important in our lives. Whether it is basic bandwidth for connecting to family and friends, or a super fast highway for global reach and competitiveness in the business world, bandwidth constitutes the speed at which we connect as a global presence within the expanding sphere of Internet communication. ... To understand why bandwidth is important to all Americans, including personal and business uses, we must understand the different types Internet traffic. more»

Planning for the Ugly End of the Phone Network

Consumers who have a choice are quickly deciding they don't need the old copper-based phone network, often known as POTS for Plain Old Telephone Service. We use our cellphones for talking even when we're not mobile. The cell phones have built in phone directories, easy ways to return calls, the ability to call a number on a web page; and we don't share them with our parents or children... It's a good year for traditional phone companies when they don't lose more than 10% of their POTS lines. more»

WiMAX Will Be Successful, as a Fringe Technology

A recent Infonetics press release says "WiMAX has gained such momentum across so many regions that it is no longer sensible to suggest that WiMAX growth will be flattened by the emergence of LTE [Long Term Evolution] in the next few years." Probably true, but it's also clear WiMAX will never reach the scale of either mainstream wireless family, i.e., WiFi or GSM/3GSM. By comparison with these giants, WiMAX will be a fringe operation. The critical issue is volume, and what counts is the wireless technology brand, not the technology itself. more»

Broadband Initiatives: Impact Will Depend on Wireless and Fixed Strategies

Broadband; we want it, and we all depend on it; but where you live can impact access and adoption of the best that service providers have to offer. The FCC is looking to change both geographic and demographic limitations now plaguing the U.S. in the global race for broadband economic supremacy. Can a combination of a fixed and wireless-mobile strategy improve broadband economic viability by increasing access, adoption, and affordability across the broadband spectrum? more»

LTE and Spectrum Stupidity

Mobile operators are counting on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to handle surging demand for mobile data access. But LTE developers made some poor choices, cutting spectral efficiency and thus driving up operator costs. LTE was envisioned as an all IP system, but the RF allocations follow the voice-centric approach of earlier generations. While LTE standards allow for either Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) or Time Division Duplexing (TDD), all initial LTE equipment uses FDD. FDD requires two separate blocks of spectrum... more»

WiMAX vs. LTE

Mobile WiMAX, with the release of 2×2 MIMO chips in 2008, gives WiMAX a lead of two or so years on its major competitor -- the 3GPP's LTE. However, 3G cellphones using 3GPP UMTS technologies, extended to higher speeds with HSPA, is widely used in handsets in many countries. In North America, 3GPP2 CDMA2000 and EV-DO are widely used, but these are likely to be replaced over time by LTE and to some extent WiMAX. more»

About That Second, Third and Fourth Wireless "Attachment"

There is some good news about the decision by Verizon Wireless to offer shared monthly data plans. But there could be a lot more if the FCC applied its Carterfone policy. That policy gave consumers the power to decide what and how many devices to attach to a network connection. If Carterfone applied, consumers could use multiple devices to access a network subscription, albeit perhaps not at the same time. more»

LTE Insufficient from the Start, Boingo IPO Propitious

The trouble with planning way ahead is that the world changes before you execute. The major wireless carriers have been planning their 4th generation LTE (Long Term Evolution) rollouts for a long time -- that's how they do things. Now, even as Verizon Wireless is doing an aggressive rollout of LTE, it's becoming clear that LTE networks will not be able to slake the data thirst of a world full of smart phones and tablets. Whoops. more»