Wednesday, April 06, 2005

As promised, here's something on WiFi. Actually, I was a bit concerned about WiFi making it to the top. The term's been around for sometime and more companies are going wireless. Hotspots are mushrooming in India (esp in Railway Stations and in trains too). Somehow, I have the feeling that the technology isn't moving as fast as it should. So, what's stopping it? For one, WiFi networks are still considered unsecure (even after encrpytion). Now, broadband mobile phone service is perceived as a threat too.

A techdirt article says : "In many places, mobile broadband data services are insanely pricey. However, it does show how a decent speed and ubiquity when done right (a big if) certainly can trump higher speeds and hotspots going forward. We're already seeing this in the US among people who are using EV-DO wireless broadband access where it's available -- and claim it's rid them of the need to use WiFi. The two technologies certainly can co-exist for quite some time. There are a variety of issues (technology, business models, interference, capacity, etc.) as to why one technology is unlikely to completely obsolete the other."

And, according to this O'Reilly blog hotspots aren't that popular in Japan. To quote from it "Native [Japanese] travelers probably do not need to plug-in to Ethernet or WiFi because of the widespread availability of broadband mobile phone service."

But this article tends to disagree. "... it is clear that the growth and distribution of Wi-Fi is accelerating. This is largely the result of two essential characteristics of Wi-Fi –- speed and interoperability (e.g. standards). The Starbucks crowd and the business traveler want mobile access to data intensive applications and services. Email, VOIP, CRM and quality picture messaging require throughput that 3G is currently unable to support. These proprietary wireless networks saddle users with “application fees” to run CRM or email programs on their devices. To contrast this, Wi-Fi’s interoperability and openness encourages innovation and development, in addition Wi-Fi offers at least an “order of magnitude” more bandwidth."

And Robert Scoble, the Microsoft geek in his blog has this to say : "Let's just say I'm hanging out at the hospital this week and I'm very grateful that the hospital has free Wifi! If I'm ever sick, put me into a hospital with Wifi." For more

So, will WiFi ever make it as the undisputable leader in wireless technologies? Only time will tell.