Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Municiple Wi-Fi failures

Wired has a good read: What's Behind the Epidemic of Municipal Wi-Fi Failures? The article talks about the telcos pulling out of the consumer wireless market-- citing the issue of the number of access points required to provide coverage.

Mesh networking has offered a solution to this problem for several years. We have the technology to solve this problem ourselves if we cared enough to get organized.

The article has a good quote from Dewayne Hendricks :

In fact, Hendricks characterizes the recent downturn in muni Wi-Fi projects simply as "the end of the first beginning."

The second beginning, he says, may already be underway with the IEEE's work on 802.11s, a yet-to-be-ratified amendment to the Wi-Fi standard that defines how wireless devices can interconnect to create decentralized, ad-hoc networks, or "mesh networks."

I've talked about this before, it was the subject of a Susan Crawford QOTD last year:

Will we learn how to participate in mesh networks in time to adopt them in large numbers before they become illegal?

Perhaps the abandonment of this market by the telcos is a positive? Solving this community-by-community by sharing connections and working together will make for a far better and more sustainable solution.

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