Friday, September 02, 2005

A coming wireless internet boom?

OK, enough raving about websites that have complicated my life. Back to the business at hand. I had a long and interesting talk with Aleksandrs Rutmanis the head of Unistars, a wireless internet provider and the object of an effort to reallocate the company's 3.5 to 3.6 GHz frequencies (see the earlier post). Unistars is also going to start offering WiMax on its network, though on a less well-defined schedule that Telecentrs, which is trying to get a piece of the frequencies.
WiMax will be the main means of moving into the residential and private market for Unistars and also to offer businesses a degree of nomadic services (nomadic being you can move your wireless modem and PC to another, even distant location and reconnect your always-on broadband network there, which doesn't quite work with DSL or other wireline technologies).
As for the spectrum issues, Unistars says that its network architecture (multiple base stations and "cells", frequency re-use) explains why it needs the all the frequencies and channels that it was allocated in 2000 (and must extend now). Other operators, they say, use a simpler approach with one large cell covering, say, much of Riga from the television tower.
Time to educate myself about all this WiMax stuff so I can figure out the angles here.
In any event, it appears we will have a WiMax (mini?) boom on the horizon in Latvia if both companies go ahead with their plans (and some spectrum is found for Telecentrs).

2 comments:

Konrads konrads_dot_smelkovs_at_gmail_dot_com said...

Call me a sceptic, but I think that wireless internet is not a pancaea as many put it. Operators see a way to cut down infrastructure costs and wide n their reach, neglecting the quality of service. Wireless has 2 main quality problems: saturation of bandwidth and environmental effects.
Since all users sit on a form of a common bus and use the same bandwidth, eventually the speed will decrese and operators will have to install more cells, which will lead to greater noise and other nightmares. In a way, the sheer number of potential users will kill the service. See draugiem.lv, hehe, my pet peevee, fuckers can't do a professional service :)

Second issue being the environment. I don't know how resistant WiMax is to foul weather like rain and snow, but I imagine that it will have an impact. Not to mention the ease of distruption. Tear down shielding of microwave oven, put it to MicroGrill mode and enjoy a perfect comms disrupter.

Bottom line is, that while Wireless offers you mobility and, to a degree, ubiquity of reach, relting only on wireless is not a wise strategy for a business. I think whole wireless is overhyped. But then again, I am a sceptic here.

Anonymous said...

When you hear broadband providers or your colleagues and friends talking about "wireless" they could actually be talking about two separate things:Wireless Networking, having a wire free computer in the house connected to a broadband connection.Wireless Broadband, this is a special kind of broadband package where you can use it at home, but also in certain places when you are away from home. All you need is your phone number or pastcode to see if either of these broadband connections are available and you can check it at broadband.co.uk.