Is Wi-Fi About to Crumble?

I love Wi-Fi. I used to use it at Starbucks for meetings. Not any more–it costs at Starbucks. I rarely have meetings at Starbucks anymore. I love to go use it where it is free. There are lots of other people doing the same thing. I have talked with them. I see them at free hot-spots regularly. Sometimes the network we’re on crashes and either you go elsewhere or wait until it comes back online. I usually wait. I get something to eat (I need to support the establishment since they are providing me with this service – plus I take up one of their tables for many hours – I need to support them). I do work that I do not need Wi-Fi for while I wait. Once the network is back up, it’s business as usual.

Or is it?

The perspective below by Selina Lo, CEO of Ruckus Wireless, makes some good observations. Take a read and tell me what you think.

Perspective by Selina Lo | From CNET News.com

Originally developed to allow multiple computers to share access to the Internet, the Wi-Fi lure of “free spectrum, no strings attached,” is driving every imaginable type of handheld device to embed the technology as users demand Wi-Fi access at home, in the workplace and in public venues. Yet as more and more content is poured into Wi-Fi networks, the technology is now struggling to keep pace.

Next generation Wi-Fi technology, 802.11n, is widely viewed as a panacea to the current limitations. A tremendous boost to Wi-Fi, 802.11n increases the capacity of the technology to hundreds of megabits per second (Mbps) from 54 Mbps today. This is achieved by ganging multiple Wi-Fi radios together in a single Wi-Fi device. At challenging locations where the higher data rates are not possible–for example, at the far ranges or in noisy environments–the extra Wi-Fi radios are used to strengthen the signal and extend its reach.

These all sound appealing except for a nagging blind spot–interference caused by neighboring devices that operate in the same unlicensed spectrum.

read more…

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One thought on “Is Wi-Fi About to Crumble?

  1. It seems that Selina Lo’s comments are directed more at networks of devices in an office setting instead of the static set-up in a location like Starbucks where the coverage area doesn’t change and types of interference aren’t much of an issue. Like you, I seek out free wi-fi spots, usually in restaurants or coffee shops, where I can catch a quick meal and spend an hour or two working remotely. Some of my favorite spots in Atlanta are chains like Panera Bread Company and Mellow Mushroom and there’s a local restaurant near my house called Churchill’s Pub. I’ve never signed up for the any pay for service arrangements and don’t go to Starbucks at all unless it’s for a business meeting at someone else’s suggestion.

    My opinion? Any upgrades to a new, higher speed standard is a great thing and technology managers will quickly adapt and overcome, just as they have done many times before.

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