Date: Tuesday, August 28th, 2001, 13:49
A new Infoworld article “‘Parasitic Grid’ Could Undermine Wireless Revenues” details the new trend in urban wireless networks: free personal 802.11b Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) that could begin to cut into revenues of large wireless carriers.
An underground movement is afoot to deploy free wireless access zones inurban areas, building on the increasing popularity of wi-fi or 802.11btechnology — a standard for wireless Ethernet that works on an unlicensedportion of the spectrum. The movement, dubbed the “parasitic grid” by some,is already thriving in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, BritishColumbia and London.
The concept is based on community-minded volunteers,who offer other Internet users within a certain range — say 300 feet — a”free ride” on their wireless connections. The trend is not going unnoticedby the large wireless carriers in these cities. “We are aware of the freeservices springing up and are considering 802.11b wireless access as well,not in place of currently scheduled rollouts but as an adjunct,” says anAT&T Wireless spokesman.
Meanwhile, so-called “aggregators” have developedsoftware that resides in the mobile device that can find any availablenetwork and connect the user to it, creating, in effect, metropolitan-widefree networks that may ultimately compete with fee-based wireless services.”It would even be able to say, ‘Here is a list of the networks found’ andindicate which are free and which charge a fee,” says an official at acompany that provides 802.11b services at hotels and airports.
For more on this emerging trend check out our previous Go2Mac articles:
Free Wireless Internet Access – Coming Soon to a City Near You [Wed, 15 Aug 2001, 12:06]
Free Wireless Access: Caveat Emptor [Fri, 17 Aug 2001, 08:28]