Wireless Networks Combine Wi-Fi & WiMax
By Rob Greenlee, Host / Founder WebTalkGuys
Recently I met with the economic development director
for a smaller city in south Seattle who expressed
a strong interest in building a huge city wide
Wi-Fi network. The reason stated to build this
free public wireless network is to enhance the
image of the city to new potential businesses
and high-income citizens.
This city is reinventing itself by doing a massive
model of its downtown business and retail core
so it can become more attractive as a retail and
employment core, thus attracting more retail dollars
and jobs to the local community.
Studies are showing that residents of small cities
would prefer to live, work and shop in their local
Smaller cities typically havent really had
strong employment bases or retail sectors. Most
smaller cities don't have larger shopping malls,
but larger cities that are snarled with congested
traffic have them. The thing that is starting
to hurt these giant malls is that they are often
congested with traffic and require driving a distance
from the smaller city residential communities.
People want to stay closer to home and don't want
to fight the congestion of people and traffic
to get to the large major malls. This is driving
up the demand for smaller city or community shopping
The other major impact will be the continued growth
of online commerce as we are seeing the retail
promise of the dot-com e-tailer boom times starting
to come true.
High-speed cable and wireless Internet has the
ultimate ability to make the world smaller and
more globally connected while at the same time
resulting in less of a real need to travel much
from our local home communities for work or family
This growing traffic congestion problem in and
around our major cities is starting to put pressure
on small residential cities to become more self-sufficient
with all needed shopping and lifestyle amenities
within walking distance. This is because people
are getting very tired of delays and congestion.
I believe high-speed Internet cable and broadband
wireless access is a big part of filling this
Another driving factor is a general growing feeling
that the world outside of our close communities
is dangerous to us because of the risk of terrorism,
deadly viruses and random violence.
I believe that all of these factors are playing
a large part in the growing importance of the
Internet and general community data networks.
The next major area of impact is the combination
of wireless Internet and wireless access to locally
based services and information that will cause
these community-based wireless networks to really
have a positive impact on our lives in our local
The other major area of interest by smaller cities
is the instant data connectivity to field services
like police, fire and city maintenance crews.
In a few years we will also see more Wi-Fi and
WiMax networks as these types of networks grow
in size and enable high-speed city wide wireless
connectivity to city-related content on what is
being called Community Wireless Networks (CWN)
or Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN). One of the
largest Community Wireless Networks is Seattle
Wireless. These networks are similar to the growing
number of underground municipal or city owned
fiber optic networks that cities are now building
all across the U.S.
The big difference between a fiber optic network
and a wireless network is speed of deployment
and cost. Low relative cost and economic development
are the key drivers for city-owned wireless networks.
Wi-Fi or the more expensive WiMax networks can
cover up to 30 miles for very low cost compared
to very expensive fiber networks. The community
Wi-Fi networks could be free, but the higher speed
WiMax community network would need to be a paid
network. WiMax subscribers within this 30 mile
range would possibly pay somewhere around $ 20
to $30 per month to the originating community
network for getting wireless broadband to mobile
devices and fixed receivers mounted on the tops
of building and homes. These fixed receivers would
then redistribute the broadband service via in
home Wi-Fi access points.
It is not a land grab anymore, but a grab for
wireless air space that will count the most in
just a few short years. Those cities that are
just starting to build fiber networks may be too
late to the game to compete.
About Source of Article
Rob Greenlee is Founder and co-host of the WebTalkGuys
Radio Show. WebTalkGuys, a Seattle-based talk
show featuring technology news and interviews.
It is broadcast on WebTalkGuys Radio, Sonic Box,
via Pocket PC at Mazingo Networks and the telephone
via the Mobile Broadcast Network. It's on the
radio in Seattle at KLAY 1180 AM and KVTI 90.9
FM. Past show and interviews are also webcast
via the Internet at http://www.webtalkguys.com/.
Greenlee is also a member of the The International
Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences.