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Cisco Unveils Amazing New Wireless Plans

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the lotsa-bandwidth-all-the-time dept.

Technology 147

StDave writes "Yesterday Cisco announced a very cool technology. It is a 44Mb wireless technology that doesn't require line of sight and has a range of 30 miles. Take your ADSL line on the road with you. " Wow - they've found a way to use the "ghosting" caused by obstructions to tv and cell signals. Base units will cost around 150,000$ and the transceivers will be under 500$, with start of marketing sometime around June.

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Score -1, Flamebait Slightly offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487744)

Americans may think wireless technology is cool, but they miss out on so much by not using GSM mobile phone infrastructure. Roaming. When a European goes to America, their mobile phone still works. Amazing, huh? Not really. Get with it, folks.

Um, Santa? (1)

cruise (111380) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487745)

Dear Santa,

I've been a really good boy all year and now is the time to really show me how much being a good boy means to you. I know that 150 thousand dollars is a lot of mney but I'm sure you have an elf or two at cisco right?

Hmmm... (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487746)

I'd wait and see what sort of encryption they're going to use for this before jumping on the bandwagon. I wouldn't particularly like to have my data broadcast all over the city if all they offer is XOR "encryption"...

Break the Monopoly! (3)

Ex Machina (10710) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487747)

This kind of system gives a small to medium size isp a chance to break the monopoly on broadband (DSL/Cable) Internet connections. In my area (SE RI/MA), (Cox) cable internet is unavailable, MediaOne RoadRunner is nonexistant, DSL is a year off, T1 is overpriced and ISDN is crappy. If an existing dialup isp implimented this technology, it would be a great way to move into the high bandwidth market. Someone doing this could force broadband companies to compete, which is good.
What about security though? I assume they'll have link level encryption.

Drool (1)

ScumBiker (64143) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487748)

Simply put, wow. ~If~ this works, it'll blow a _lot_ of ISP's out of the water. Anyone know how to write a business plan? Let's see, start with a nice dual 750 Athlon with FreeBSD...

Dive Gear []

This will change the ISP landscape (2)

color of static (16129) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487749)

I've been looking for something like this since my days as an undergrad. Wireless has the unique ability to take all your expenditures and put them up front. I can see a local ISP buying two or three of these and having the same coverage as they do now. After that they just have to collect enough money to pay for overhead and the P&I on the loans.

There are problems though. In my area a 30 mile radius encompasses a few million people. Is there the ability for orthogonal coding or seperate channels, or is this bandwidth shared per foot print? How many orthogonal channels are capabale in a footprint? If it's not a lot this could be worse then cable modems (I used to work with cable modems in high density installations about 10 years ago, and after the first large group gets on you wish they hadn't).

MMDS isn't all that new,,, (2)

MrGrieves (53464) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487750)

If I recall my Future Tech class correctly, a few cable-alternative services have been using MMDS for nearly 20 years. I'm pretty sure that Cleveland and New Orleans services still exist today. It was cheaper to set up MMDS towers than to string cable through an already-dense wire-line infrastructure, apparently. Are there other markets outside of the U.S. that currently make use of MMDS?

Still, it's very cool to have yet another fat pipe, especially since it's wireless. I'm just sort of puzzled that the article seems to be implying that MMDS is some sort of fantastic new invention. The Cisco tech's a novel use of the spectrum, granted, but the bandwidh's been there for a while; since the beginning of time if you want to be literal ;-) Before I get myself into a cosmological debate, I'll just stop here.


The $64,000 Question (4)

Amphigory (2375) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487751)

Is the 44Mbps shared, or 44Mbps per user?

If shared, then over a radios of 30 miles it's not necessarily a whole lot -- especially in the city.

If per station... err... Please mommy?

Impressive Engineering Feat (5)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487752)

While not terribly difficult in theory, that it works over such distances is an impressive feat of engineering. However, I would like to see how it works in the real world. If it compensates for interference by lots of resending, dropping bandwidth, that's fine, but if it cuts out, that's a problem.

While I don't doubt the article, I want to see it in production before I praise them too much.

One thing that I've always wondered, why do we see so few high bandwidth wireless technology. I mean, one should be able to just use more frequencies. I guess that there is a real shortage of available frequencies. I wonder how much of that is technical hurdles and how much is beaurocratic messes between the DOD, FCC, etc., fighting over it.

Well, as IP carries more and more information, I wonder if we'll be able to reclaim all the bandwidth from audio/video broadcasts as the world moves digital. HDTV promises more (over the airwaves) channels because the signal is smaller... that seems a little silly. People that want more channels currently have Cable and DSS options, and Telephone will do so too. I think that society has more uses for the airwaves than broadcasting more garbage. As long as people get reasonable channels for their kids, news, and evening entertainment, I think that society would be better served by allowing new technologies to claim the bandwidth... but that's just me.

On the other hand, more radio stations with lower barriers to entry (licenses trump the real expenses) so that there are real alternative stations instead of the same drivel on all of them.


this would be a excellnt oppertunity for a isp (1)

chaos4u (13695) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487753)

this would be great for ant body who had the cash to start up there own isp . the only thing i can see limiting is the 30 mile radius but im thinking that extra base units would make up for that . i wonder what would be a good price for this service ?

now only if i could get the money to start this up in my town !

music the paint
dancefloor the canvas

Security and "Dropped" Data (2)

Deitheres (98368) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487754)

Two questions:

1) What kind of security will be implemented? What kind of ecyrption will they use to make sure no one will catch all my "bits and packets" (hehehe kind of like "bits and pieces") and seeing all my pr0n?!?

2) I have a cellular phone from a certain digital provider that will remain nameless (::cough:: sprint pcs ::cough::) and I have dropped calls ALL the time. Does anyone think this will be a problem? I don't wanna download the latest Pam Anderson video and find out the middle half of the .avi got dropped ;-)


Child: Mommy, where do .sig files go when they die?
Mother: HELL! Straight to hell!
I've never been the same since.

Israeli / Chinese Awacs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487755)

Supposedly the AWACS bird that Israel is selling China detects planes using similar technology- interactions with surrounding radio / EM waves.

Moderate this up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487756)

excellent post

Cool, but not going to revamp telecom (2)

netpuppy (77874) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487757)

Nice tech and all (I work w/Cisco prod all day long, and am a cheerleader most of the time) but there is no way that this will free us from telecoms. Distance limitations are unacceptable, unless someone wanted to build a system that bounced data from one side of the country to another using this ... and that would be very prohibitively expensive.

I like the tech, on the other hand, if it can be developed as a service-provider based alternative to microwave. I have seen DS3 microwave systems going moderate distances across a metro area, and you end up saving the cost of the hardware very quickly when compared to paying local loop fees for that kind of circuit. If this could be rolled out by a motorola as a point-to-point connection between business buildings, with cpe hardware costing a few hundred dollars, they could bank.

Maybe that mythical Metro Area Network will emerge eventually, after all...

Now Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487758)

I want it now. Right away.

So long as it doesn't give me leukaemia [] !

( 5000/545086.stm)

"What do you mean?" "Me? I don't mean anything."

Any Health Concerns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487759)

What effect will this technology have on humans? With all the noise about cell phone causing brain cancer, the last thing I want to do is get nutsack cancer because my laptop has one of these units in the PC Card slot. Having a mobile connection this fast would be great but I ain't gonna give up the family jewels for one...

Save the testies!

Re:Security and "Dropped" Data (2)

skelly (38870) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487761)

You or the ISP could use any security you want. It sounds like CISCO has solved the hardware and other technical problems of wireless networking. Software would probably be up to the ISP. As for PCS, I have AT&T and have NEVER had a dropped call even when I left the central caslling area for the back woods.

Maybe this will tell BT where to get off? (2)

anthonyclark (17109) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487762)

Here in the UK, BT have announced that a 512Kbs ADSL line will cost the end user 50 pounds a month plus installation and equipment costs. If this new Cisco wireless stuff really can give me 44Mbs all to myself with no connect charges... I'll buy one straight away.
Hopefully Cisco won't delay selling this stuff in the UK. (which is what normally happens) I could see quite a few people in the UK switching to this kind of technology if it can deliver what it promises. (Like we all believe press releases...)

Where do I sign up?

On another note, if I could get 44Mbs over 30 miles, would I get 4.4Mbs over 300 miles? I realise that is an oversimplification, but 4Mbs+ over 100s of miles would be a godsend to countries with poor infrastructure (e.g. Africa, Russia)

Great but expense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487763)

Well, this is great, but what about during rain and thunderstorms? I can't afford the $40-100 dollars per month for the slow stuff at 500K/100K up/down speeds. Can you imagine what they'll charge for this speed? Hope it's more like $9.95 unlimited per month with roaming in any state or country! Moreover, the base station is really going to be bandwidth constrained with everybody hitting them at 44mbs. Why don't telcos just bite the bullet and run 1Gbs fiber to all of our houses. Thus, the internet speed wars would then be over! :)

Why do geeks want portable tech? (1)

thefallen (16891) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487764)

Why do geeks want portable technology? Are you always on the move? I'm not (well, I go to school every day but if I didn't I wouldn't be).

Re:Any Health Concerns? (1)

McKing (1017) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487765)

testes, you ass...

You can not move with this fixed wireless (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487766) ions/wireless/faq.html Q. What does "Broadband Fixed Wireless" mean? A. Broadband defines communication with data rates exceeding 1.5 Mbps. Fixed wireless is not mobile wireless, which allows users mobility while using the service. Fixed wireless is communications to buildings or a cell site, which does not move.

Re:Break the Monopoly! (1)

Dman33 (110217) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487767)

Being that I agree with Ex Machina, I do not see how this got moderated to 'flamebait'? What argument would flame this besides maybe an exec from MCI or the cable co.?
I just do not see an opposing viewpoint.

I guess the moderator works for the cable co!

This is intriguing... (3)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487768)

The Government is considering allocating frequencies for car navigation systems. CISCO comes out with a device which would essentially permit cars to transmit/receive large volumes of information in real-time.


Maybe so, but even if it is, you've now got virtually all the ingredients needed for "car traffic control" systems. All you'd need, to finish it off, would be some decent sensors on the cars, to detect what objects are near, and some means for a central computer to determine optimal paths.

The latter part is almost done, with existing car navigation systems, but this would need to be a bit more refined.

I see a lot of potential for this device, far beyond mere wireless web surfing.

Cisco would become a 'worthwhile' big company (1)

jquiroga (94119) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487769)

If a company is big, it always tramples on small ones, even without noticing. To compensate, it should bring big and positive changes. Cisco would be a worthwhile big company if it delivers this.

Re:You can not move with this fixed wireless (2)

revnight (8980) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487770)

i wonder why this would preclude mobile operations, though? i imagine it would relatively trivial to set up a repeater system, linked to a server bank.

regardless, i can't wait to see the antennae sprouting up everywhere! beautiful! :)

Re:Maybe this will tell BT where to get off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487771)

If the power of the signal was proportional to the square of the distance from the transmitter, then the following could be true:

3 miles: 100 times the signal strength ~= 4.4GBps
30 miles: 44Mb/s
300 miles: 0.44Mb/s
0.3 miles: 440Gb/s (here you can see why this is an obvious over simplification....)

Of course, there is a lot more to consider than the oversimplification above... the reflections, data transmittal frequency and many many other things would mean that you would probably get 4Gb/s over 0.3 miles, and 0.4Mb/s over 100 miles...

Oh, what do I know...

Re:Break the Monopoly! (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487772)

I agree too, remembering the pain ISDN problems (read lack of service for weeks while getting the runaround from BellSouth) and have dreamed of bypassing the phone company with microwaves. The $150,000 seems a bit steep, but I guess that's the price for a massive base station.

It would be nice to see something I can afford for my own little network. I hope the $500 units have an option network together in the spirit of the internet. I'm using the 2mbps Zoomair modems around my neighborhood in a simple network. Too bad they don't cover the city . . .

Re:Moderate this up! (1)

fr0g (63626) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487773)

Took me 3 minutes to put the words together.

Solution to the "Last Mile" problem? (2)

adimarco (30853) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487774)

While I'd like some more technical information on this, my first thought was that this may be the (relatively) inexpensive solution we're looking for to solve the infamous "last mile" problem.

I'm not sure how much it costs to lay fiber, but I'm willing to bet it's not cheap. I'm betting it's even more expensive in more dense, urban areas. While your average Joe can't afford to cough up $150K for the base unit, your average telco *can*.

Imagine getting your home net access wirelessly. Your ISP could sell or lease you the receiver unit in much the same way that some people lease their cable modems. The connection speeds are higher anyway (is this 44 megabits shared? anyone know?).

The increasing use of wireless networking technology has us all focused on dinky little PDA things, dreaming of roaming connectivity. It had never even dawned on me that wireless connections might be the solution to the last mile problem.

I'd be a little worried if I was a cable provider...


Segmentation fault (core dumped)

Re:The $64,000 Question (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487775)

According to the article:

"Cisco technology in the base station would allow 3,000 simultaneous users to receive data 1,000 times faster than they would from a typical voice line."

For 3000 simultaneous users at ~28k, you'd need about 80meg. For 3000 at 1000x ~28k, you'd need an 80,000meg pipe (~80Gb). Someone please check my numbers, because either the article is fscked or I can't do simple arithmetic.

somewhat off-topic, but relevant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487776)

just look at that story header...

cicso? really??? do you EVER read what you write, or does that not leave enough hours for surfing?


Re:this would be a excellnt oppertunity for a isp (1)

rickward (25813) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487777)

In an attempt to resolve a problem that has plagued television watchers and cellular phone users in big cities for years, Cisco plans to market technology that essentially harnessesand redirects the voice and data microwave signals that bounce off many obstructions in large cities.

What about rural areas in the Midwest U.S.? Can they take advantage of this? Or rural areas in the Appalachias? Can mountains obstruct signals like buildings? If not, rural mom 'n pop ISPs will not be able to justify the expense, placing rural areas at yet another disadvantage. Still, sounds really cool.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Meph (62319) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487778)

You do all use your own end to end encryption over any comunications link anyhow. Don't you?

Re:Drool (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487779)

Why do you feel will it blow ISP's out of the water? Someone has to provide the pipe to the backbone and that's what the ISP's are there for. What this will eliminate is the phone company. And lower the costs of phone lines to an ISP. Imagine owning an ISP and not having to pay for 10,000 customer phone lines each month and just paying the one time cost for one $150,000 base station. Looks like a good deal to me.

Re:This will change the ISP landscape (1)

Forgette (121463) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487780)

I was thinking about this as well. How many of these setups could be within that 30 mile radius?
What I am thinking about is how apartments in urban areas, such as New York, Chicago, LA, could speed things up with these. With 3000 users on a such a setup, it would require more than 300 of such units for a population of one million... Even more in the major urbanc areas.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487781)

If ZKS ever releases it, you can use their Freedom client and encrypt everything yourself.

Re:Maybe this will tell BT where to get off? (3)

revnight (8980) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487782)

On another note, if I could get 44Mbs over 30 miles, would I get 4.4Mbs over 300 miles? I realise that is an oversimplification,
but 4Mbs+ over 100s of miles would be a godsend to countries with poor infrastructure (e.g. Africa, Russia)
------------------------------------------------ --

no, probably not, i'm afraid. the article didn't say anything about what kind of frequencies were involved, but if they are using vhf/uhf/microwave/etc., which they almost assuredly are, then line of sight is about the limit (i'm only talking about the distance the radio waves will travel, not how the technology will compensate for buildings and such.)

really, it would depend upon how high up they got the antenna. if you had a mountain nearby, it could conceivably cover much, much more than 30 miles...doubtful this would be the common situation, i'm afraid.

Re:MMDS isn't all that new,,, (3)

Gurlia (110988) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487783)

Sure, usually when "real" leading-edge (or bleeding edge) technology gets to common people like us, it has been "there" for long years. (Though, in the software world the timescale is many months rather than many years). It always takes somebody to take the step to implement something based on that technology so that it is accessible to the public.

Just like most new OS technology/concepts usually goes around only in academic circles for a while, before somebody in the industry decides to actually use it to produce "real" OS's for people to use. (Eg. witness how many years behind Windows is in terms of OS design? Even Linux is still based on macrokernel design, and very few people even know about Hurd which is based on microkernels -- arguably the "front-line" of OS research. But by now, there's probably already something newer.).

It's always easy to criticize in retrospect (yeah Cisco didn't do anything like, new, this MMDS stuff's been around for 20 years, yeah but nobody except researchers could use it until now.) Just like Columbus said that he can stand an egg upright. When greeted by disbelief, he proceed to simply crack the bottom of the egg slightly on the table so that it would not roll over. The people then criticized, "That's cheesy, I knew how to do that all along!" It takes a pioneer to take what looks like an "obvious step" in retrospect.

Back to my point: I think it's a good thing Cisco took this step to make this technology available to people. I wouldn't be so quick to point out, like the people who criticized Columbus, "but hey, this technology's been around for so long!" Having said that, let me just add the standard disclaimer: I do not intend this as flamebait, nor am I trying to criticize Chris or anybody else. Just pointing out something... (you never know how people can misread you on Slashdot, better disclaim everything!) :-) And of course, if this technology is going to be available any time soon, I want to try it!!

Re:somewhat off-topic and irrelevant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487784)

I noticed a while back, I didn't post a comment cos I didn't want to be moderated down to redundant when the spelling mistake was fixed... (it happenned before...) I still don't want to be moderated down, hence the AC.

Re:The $64,000 Question (1)

Deosyne (92713) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487785)

I would imagine that being a wireless connection, that would be 44Mbps per user; the real bottleneck will occur with a packed station carrying nearly 3,000 independant connections that have to go through the land line connected to the base station. Of course, they could nail an OC-3 to it, but what is that going to translate to in terms of cost for the end user? At least the cost of the base station is negligable; $150,000 to support 3,000 users comes down to only $50 a user, although the receiver that the user has to have is $500. Those prices will come down, too, so it will be an even bigger bargain, particularly when talking about billing a customer monthly. :) All of this is theoretical, of course, but this new tech may be the real high speed access method that replaces dial-up, as long as its more reliable than the problematic cable and DSL solutions.


Is the "cool new" technology really new? (1)

tcnolan (121467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487786)

Sorry about the double post, my first time and I may have screwed it up :) Is this use of the "ghosting" really new? It is common practice in digitial wireless technology to use a RAKE receiver structure to resolve the reflections and recombine them to use the reflected power in addition to the line of sight path. Id be more curious to see what spectrum they are using and how their broadcast bandwidth efficency and absolute bandwidth compare to current technologies. I would think that that would make the definable difference. BTW 30 miles in an urban terain is going to require a _LOT_ of power, espically if the 44Mbps is not shared.

Re:somewhat off-topic and irrelevant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487787)

yeah, but then no-one is going to hear you because as AC your comments are rated zero and anyone worth their salt will be browsing at 2 or higher to get rid of all the dross that somehow slips into the system...

Re:Great but expense? (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487788)

Why don't telcos just run fiber to each house? Physical connections are very expensive. May I recommend the hobby of packet radio to you? Its a very cheap way to send packets over a network that can be independent of a monopoly or one central location.

Re:Security -- Use Freedom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487789)

Handle your own security. The Freedom client [] has been released! Your ISP could transmit everything on open airwaves in the clear, and nobody will be able to tell even what sites you're visiting.

Re:somewhat off-topic and irrelevant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487790)


You will also find that moderators are unlikely to moderate your posts up as they think it's giving Karma away...

"I can't do that... there are registered users who deserve the Karma more than you.... hahahahaha"

Re:Why do geeks want portable tech? (2)

Jonas ÷berg (19456) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487791)

Geeks want portable networks and computers because it's generally assumed that if you can bring your network wherever you go, you will suddenly end up going to the pub, discos and friends more often, thus having some sort of life. It wouldn't actually be like that of course, but it's a nice enough thought.

Actually it is Pro-BSD stuff. (1)

Dman33 (110217) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487792)

Kinda lame attempt at posting flamebait...

IMO- My guide to flamebait on /. is to post stuff about how the newest technology has really been around for years, or to misspell something, or to post something mathematically (or technologically) inaccurately.

Hi moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487793)

You DO mean $150,000, right? Not 150,000$.

Man, the updates here are fucking stupid in every way. It's proven by the post. Guess Roblimo is the least stupid, though. This isn't the story for all Robs, however.

End of high power transmitters (2)

heroine (1220) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487794)

Doesn't it seem like the days of the high powered transmitter broadcasting 80,000 watts of music power are over? I predict there will no longer be high powered TV and radio transmitters but instead we'll have small transcevers on every block covering just that block, channeling TV and radio on demand over the same protocols as internet traffic. They're already going to deallocate the FM, AM, and TV bands. Why not just make that the end of high powered transmissions and make us all use cell recievers.

Ouch (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487795)

I started reading this story and thinking about the Airport base station and transciever card I just got for my iBook yesterday. 150ft range or so, fast, works great, but this thing puts it all to shame.

Then I read how much it cost.


FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487796)

Have the health concerns ever been proven? I recall those studies linking cancer and microwaves are conflicting and inconclusive.

Re:The $64,000 Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487797)

I think you're off - but they can't be right either.

Where you make a mistake: A 56K bits modem transfers (about) 6K bytes/second compressed and 12K bytes/second uncompressed. That's what I see, so feel free to give me alternate numbers if I'm in error.

If we take 1/2 of the uncompressed rate to simulate a 28K modem and multiply it by 1000 then by 3000, and divide by 1024 to get K bytes, we get;

6144x1000x3000/1024=18,000,000 (K bytes)
18,000,000/1024=17,578.125 (M bytes)

17,578 MB/second is still impressive ... except that the other numbers they provided don't match this.

Using the $150,000 transmitter cost divided across the 3,000, this would break down to a one-time cost of $50 at the transmitter. Hell, any medium-sized community could easily afford one of those things. Yet, the 80meg transfer rate doesn't match the 44Mb (not MB) transfer rate. There's some loss or delay that must be accounted for -- and I don't see it.

The only way this makes any sense is that they are taking into account delays and pauses typical in sending the packets, or maybe they bunch up the packets per-user -- actually transmit to a fraction of the users -- and then call this "simultaneous".

Re:You know why it is amazing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487798)

Go away you troll and back under the bridge with your FUD.

Has anyone heard of Metricom? (2)

JohnnyX (11429) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487799)

I'm surprised at the amount of response to what is basically puffery from Cisco marketing. Those of us in DC or San Francisco have been able to use Ricochet wireles for a few years now. True, the speed is 28.8 kbps, but Metricom is rolling out R2 in early 2000 to 28 markets. R2 will be ~128kbps, fully wireless, and work at up to 70 miles per hour, i.e. driving down the highway. It's been testing okay, and should be priced between $50-100 per month. IMHO, this is a lot more interesting right now. Yours truly, Mr. X

Cisco late out of the gate - Wishful dreaming (1)

helleman (62840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487800)

Greeting from Newbridge Networks, where wireless LMDS networks (higher microwave frequencies used = MORE bandwidth) are already available TODAY! Read about it now! [] Come get your OC-3 or T1 pipe... ethernet available too...

Just so you know, I write this from the background of a hardware engineer in the Wireless group at Newbridge. If you have any questions, please post them. I'll be watching. Otherwise, try emailing me at "myname"

I have SOOO many comments to make, I'm going to have to make them in point form otherwise I'll be here all day. So, here we go:

1. What Cisco is proposing using multipath effects to avoid the line-of-sight problems is asking a LOT. I really doubt this is possible. I was involved in a research project over a year ago that basically ruled out this from being possible.

problem A: If you use a non directional antenna (easiest to set up, no alignment issues) you are then presented with the amount of processing needed to weed out signal from reflections - it is enormous. Your antenna also has no gain - a big problem with lossy low power MMDS or LMDS systems. No signal = lots of noise = low bandwidth or high error rate.

problem B: The other problem is cost to install a system like this. Lets say you find a nice shiny building to bounce your microwave signal off of. It's a LOT tougher to align your dish antenna to a unknown point on a building (trial and error) then to point your dish to a fixed known point. This could NOT be done by joe blow on his roof - you would need a pro installer to do this with specialized test equipment = $$$$$! You also need to do LOTS of thinking about what reflection you are going to use - too much work to make it cheap. TIME = $$$$.
The numbers they are quoting sound like marketing magic.

Enough marketing hoopla. Check out what we built... and you can have today!

Here's a few more links for you. Good techie stuff.

Check out: How to maximize the use of your available spectrum []


Newbridge features, like QOS and awesome network management. Does CISCO offer this end to end networking? I think not. []

More points:

This technology doesn't work on the move. It isn't meant for vehicle platforms. Fixed sites only.

30 MILE range? I think not. NO WAY they could get regulated. Think of the interference problems on adjacent cells, especially since they are using the multipath effects.

Typical cell sizes for LMDS MMDS systems are around 4 Km. (2.5 miles)

ISP's love this stuff because it can get them into peoples homes - last mile. Don't need cable, dont need phone lines.

If you have any questions, please post em. Man, the signal to noise ratio in this topic has been pretty bad. I hope this helps clear a few things up.

Re:Impressive Engineering Feat (1)

omarius (52253) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487801)

I didn't see in the article which range of bandwidth this uses, but I'm guessing from the price that it's not public 10.4Ghz. My company is a Lucent WaveLan reseller, which runs in this public range -- as do microwave ovens and other troublesome devices.

Leasing spectrum drives up the cost of these devices considerably.


Re:Cool, but not going to revamp telecom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487802)

but there is no way that this will free us from telecoms

Surely you don't believe it isn't a start. I mean, sure, you still need to have a connection from the base station to a backbone, and all, but it takes your local telco (or cable co, etc) out of the user<->communication.

If you're waiting for the day when no telco's touch your traffic on it's way to any point on the net, don't hold your breath.

Re:Score -1, Flamebait Slightly offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487803)

CDMA is generation ahead of GSM. That's why GSM is a failure here in SF bayarea.

Sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487804)

Your are a sick person. I see that /. has somehow moderated your comment in a way that it is not labeled "flamebait" or "troll" and that is good because such labels are above you. You really should not have anything to say at all because I am sure that it is not nice.

Re:Impressive Engineering Feat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487805)

>>> One thing that I've always wondered, why do >>> we see so few high bandwidth wireless >>> technology. I mean, one should be able to >>> just use more frequencies. I guess that >>> there is a real shortage of available >>> frequencies. BINGO! Go sniff around the FCC web site and look at Part 2 of the FCC Rules and Regs for the table of frequency allocations. You'll quickly discover that there is a finite amount of spectrum available, and if you want more spectrum for wireless networking, you have to get it from another service to which it's currently allocated. The FCC has been working very hard to make more spectrum available, and in most cases that involves sharing and various techniques such as spread-spectrum to minimize interference. The spectre of a long-range wireless networking service bothers me - this implies that there will be one loud-mouthed base station somewhere trying to listen to a bunch of weak client stations, which means that the tolerance for interference with other spectrum users will be minimal. Sounds selfish to me...

GSM clarification (3)

fuzzybunny (112938) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487806)

GSM/SMS is, more than anything else, a toy. Currently, it's not implemented at anything over 14,000bps, and the error checking done at the base stations knocks it down to 9600. It's fine for alphanumeric paging (via SMS) and caller ID, but then again, TAP messaging (used by your boring old pager) works just as well, and call origin is also no big deal.

Also, European mobile phones generally use the 900mhz band. All US cell phone providers I am aware of use 1900mhz, so unless you have a dual-band phone using that wavelength, you're SOL (many European dual-band phones use 900/1800.) In any case, most dual-band European phones I've tried in the US have poor range compared to local PCS phones.

What I really want to see is the toys Qualcomm [] was talking about a while back. That'd really make wireless data traffic fun. And if this Cisco bit can do even local roaming, like ricochet, you're still doing very well.

Re:This will change the ISP landscape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487807)

With 3000 users on a such a setup, it would require more than 300 of such units for a population of one million... Even more in the major urbanc areas.

So, anyone want to buy Cisco stock???

[Disclaimer: No, I don't own any ... unless it's burried in some fund ... and in that case, I don't honestly know about it.]

yes! - a 3rd player .... (2)

taniwha (70410) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487808)

There could be potential competitors to the cable and phone companies in your local town! This would be very good .... I'd guess the best thing would be to partner with the broadcast TV or satelite TV people to provide competing packages with cable.

At 150k/base station it's gotta be comparable to cable/DSL (if you can serve something in the 800 customers range).

University of Washington research says yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487809)

Most cellphone studies are funded by industry and if the data is undesirable, it is then quashed. Why? Well, funding of studies satisfies gov't requirements that some sort of product research be done. In the past year, there have been preliminary reports in Seattle area newspapers about research that finally shows correllation between microwave radiation of cellphone intensity and cellular damage. A summary article was published in one of the major newspapers at this URL under the title "Cell phones harm memory, study finds" which was the top headline on Section B, Wednesday, December 1, 1999, of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Re:MMDS isn't all that new,,, (1)

SuicidalSquirrel (97227) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487810)

Not to be too picky, but that wasn't Columbus. It was actually the Renaissance architect Fillipo Brunelleschi (maybe I spelled that right??) in Florence, Italy. To the actual point, Cisco isn't promising 44Mbps. In their specifications for the wireless modem card for the uBR7200 series router, they are very careful to point out that the data rate may be up to 44Mbps if you have a 12Mhz channel. If you only get a 6Mhz channel, the best you could hope for is 22Mbps. Still, even if there is a loss of 50% on the data rate, even at the lower input bandwidth, the speed is still substantially better than the G.Lite speeds being offered by DSL carriers in my part of the world (if you're fortunate enough to have your line qualify). Also, those are full duplex data rates, so you don' thave the upstream/downstream issues you get with ADSL. I'd definitely be willing to try it. I only wish I had the funds to get to become one of those lucky ISPs to get it first :)

Re:Hmmm... (2)

Detritus (11846) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487811)

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for strong link encryption. The last time I looked at wireless LAN transceivers, the products that had link encryption were limited to NSA friendly 40-bit keys. Digital wireless phones are even worse. The NSA and FBI say "jump", the vendors ask "how high?".

Another something with RF. (1)

fp (21191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487812)

At 2.5 - 2.68 GHz I wouldn't stand in front of the transmitting gunplexor.

Wrong- this is the first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487813)

or was that the last post?

Re:Impressive Engineering Feat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487814)

Wireless modems with 128mbit technology are already there, passed field trials, and are being implemented by Metricom. Both Paul Allen and MCI/Worldcom are major investors in Metricom and this is their major push in filling the "last mile" problem. More info is available at and I know the technology works as I am already using a Ricochet modem with my laptop.

Re:The $64,000 Question (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487815)

The fact that it's wireless is irrelevant. It doesn't matter what medium the signal travels through, whether it's air or copper, bandwidth is bandwidth. It's dependant on the transmission frequency. If the transmitting tower is only capable of a total aggregate bandwitdh of 44Mbps, then it has to be shared by all users of that tower.

Probably what will happen is that you will have to purchase levels of service like with ADSL, rather than a single speed level that's shared by all users (like cable modems).

Re:Break the Monopoly! (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487816)

This kind of system gives a small to medium size isp a chance to break the monopoly on broadband (DSL/Cable) Internet connections

You're joking, right? $150k base station cost? What of a tower? Another $15-20k there... Small to medium-sized ISPs can't hardly swallow $50-$75k startup costs!

Will this work in rural areas? (2)

evilandi (2800) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487817)

The article talks about using the ghosting effect caused by office blocks etc.

So, will it work in the areas that need bandwidth the most- RURAL areas?

I don't understand why there is such a rush to provide more and more bandwidth for cities. Surely the bandwidth shortage is in rural areas, which often can't get ISDN let alone cable or ADSL? And why the hell would anyone want to work from home if their office was less than five miles away?

I'll never understand those townie folk... :-)


Re:MMDS isn't all that new,,, (1)

Rob Parkhill (1444) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487818)

In fact, I get my TV signal at home over a MMDS link today. It's been available for about 3 months here in Ottawa, and it is sweet. They are planning to roll out high-speed internet access early in 2000.

But I think the Cisco technology differs in that it allows you to not require a line-of-sight to the transmitter. I have a 15ft pole on the top of my house with a directional antena on it so I can receive the signal. Lots of places (downtown, wrong side of an apartment building, etc.) can't get the service since they are not line-of-sight right now. This tech from Cisco would fix that.

Re:Break the Monopoly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487819)

Think a little, its a wonderfull little thing called a LEASE, the company I work for is leasing all there stuff from cisco

$$ (1)

emmons (94632) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487820)

yeah, this is exciting tech... maybe for a large corporation with many buildings all over a city, when you don't want to string fiber everywhere. That can get expensive. A half mil for the base and 150k a base is a tad expensive for home users. Intercity backbones baby. Large businesses will use this for their _really_fast_ net access, without buying an OC3.


Re:MMDS isn't all that new,,, (2)

duph (27605) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487821)

while i agree with you that its a good thing that cisco came out with this, MMDS _has_ been availible to consumers for at _least_ a year (the company i work for has been reselling the product at least since i joined a year ago.)

Re:MMDS isn't all that new,,, (2)

rcw-work (30090) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487822)

This is either absolutely incredible or incorrect, as it would be the first commercial wireless product to do multiple symbols per wavelength.

Perhaps it's 12 and 6 GHz instead of MHz?

If it is GHz, it's still incredible that they can go 30 miles with it and/or (which is it? :) do non-line-of-sight connections.

Radio waves bounce off of buildings really well, the signal is still quite intact, the only problem is you get multiple signals due to multiple bounce paths to you, each one slightly delayed by a different amount (speed of light isn't so fast anymore once you deal with picosecond waves).

Looking at the technical specs it appears they not only worked around this problem but somehow used it to their advantage [] .

Re:Cicso or Cisco (1)

trichard (28185) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487823)

Let's also not confuse with Sisco, the food distributor.

Although I heard that they were trying to cash in on all of the Internet hype by developing a line of snackable network switches.

Re:Has anyone heard of Metricom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487824)

Metricom is for mobile users who want DS0 level speeds (POTS and ISDN). The service provider is restricted to Metricom. Cisco's solution is for stationary users who want DS3 level speeds (45Mb). The service provider can be anyone and everyone. There is no comparison.

You still have to pay tpo plug in the basestation (1)

clscott (15988) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487825)

Every one seems to be forgetting the cost of plugging the base station into the backbone when they are talking about this being a cheap way for small ISPs to get a leg up.

Re:You can't buy it! (1)

SETY (46845) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487826)

If anyone out there has some secret connection to buy 400km of fibre I'd love to hear it. No one talks about this for some reason. Its not price/installation/right-of-way/etc.... Its that you can't buy the stuff. It's like RAM except worse!!! If your telco doesn't have a contract dating back with Corning or someone a few years then there will not be any fibre for them to install in the coming years.....

AT&T was talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487827)

something like this around three years ago... you'd have a "Pizza box" on your home, that would serve as your Phone/internet connection. Had to be within 5 miles of a base station (cell tower, with line of site), Pizza box had a dish on it that you would have to point at the nearest main station. Each dish could support 5 phone lines (they were cell phones) and a 256 kb internet feed. "Your cell phone is your home phone" was a part of the advertising. They were testing it in Colorado if I remember right... Anyone else remember this?

Move to the city! (1)

ChozSun (49528) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487828)

Seriously, can you really expect companies to even focus on provide high bandwidth solutions for even small towns? The cost is too staggering and for them not to make that money back. Rural support would almost be out of the question. Just thank God for your ISDN line (if you have that much).

Hell, they (Telco) don't even have the big cities rolled out yet. I cannot get SDSL to my apartment as of yet. Luckily I have Cable Modem but that still prevents me from running web/ftp servers from my home.

ChozSun [e-mail] [mailto]

"Colombus" egg! I can do it better! (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487829)

In fact to make an egg stand upright, you don't have to crach the bottom at all!!

Put the (uncooked) egg on its large base, hold it for some time (warning it can take some time!) and release the egg: it will stand still because the yellow part of the egg is heavier than the white part... Of course, it isn't very stable, but it works!!

I wonder.. if this post will be marked as interesting or off-topic ??

It's not so unusual... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487830)

This is either absolutely incredible or incorrect, as it would be the first commercial wireless product to do multiple symbols per wavelength.

Isn't this essentially what phase shift keying modulation is? Bi-phase shift keying recognizes phase shifts of 0 and 180 degrees; Quad-phase shift keying recognizes phase shifts of 0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees; either of the above can also be "shifted" by a few degrees as well... and I'm told Harris Corp. also has modems that can recognize up to sixteen distinct phases. That gives you freedom to send data in binary, quaternary, or hexadecimal formats... thus sending (effectively) more than one traditional binary "bit" per wavelength.

Encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487831)

You should read the Cisco documentation : prod/wt2700/nwwbb_sd.htm Security Information that requires a high level of security such as financial institutions and medical facilities will also benefit from fixed wireless links where the integrity of the data is of the utmost importance. Security of the information is provided through a high level of Data Encryption Standard (DES) encoding.

Re:Why do geeks want portable tech? (1)

thefallen (16891) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487832)

Aah, hopeful thinking. And if environment forces social activity on you like it does to me, I can always hide in my shell, tapping TI calculator. I see. (Why I'm not marked flamebait, don't they hate when someone uses stereotypic and incorrect geek images?)

Well, WHERE IS IT! (1)

pen (7191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487833)

I've been reading Slashdot for quite some time, and at least once a month, there is an article about a new high-bandwidth technology that's going to change the world. All I have to say is... WHERE IS IT!

I live in a fairly large city. I already get cable TV in my house. In 1998, my cable company said to wait for next year. They are still saying the same thing this year. This is all while I have read numerous press releases about my cable company (Comcast) signing a contract with @Home.

DSL? Naw... I have checked all the DSL providers I could think of, and then I looked some more up and checked those. None of them offer DSL service in my area.

Am I the only one that's in a situation like this? I can imagine that if this is happening in a fairly large city (Philadelphia, for the curious) that the situation is even worse elsewhere. (No, I'm not saying that Philadelphia is the center of the world, but it is a fairly large and known city.)

Forcing you to read Slashdot! (1)

Indomitus (578) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487834)

The nerve! How dare these guys force you to sit and read Slashdot stories when you obviously have better things to do! I mean please, your life of childish name-calling and corrections of minor character misuse is a demanding one, you can't be forced to sit and read sites like this one with your on-the-go lifestyle. I for one say that you should write your congressman and make them do something about this injustice!

Re:AT&T was talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487835)

Well,, down here in Monterrey, Mexico, weve got this kind of system using Nortel techonology. However, these guys (Axtel) oversold the infrastructure and as a result we all got a downgrade to 16,800bps when connected using a modem. Let me tell you, guys, in case you have forgot what this is like, it SUCKS!!! So, its not only the antennas and boxes in your place, but also the bandwidth on the other side that matters... Once again: Telmex, FUCK YOU!!!!

Re:MMDS isn't all that new,,, (2)

SuicidalSquirrel (97227) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487836)

They do specify Mhz as the channel rates. Check out the tech specs at reless/wspg/wspgapb.htm.

It appears that this would be each user's individual channel rate, not a shared bandwidth situation

High Speed Wireless, don't believe it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487837)

There are a few issues with high speed wireless data that Cisco has failed to mention in their press release.. The first and most important issue is the fact that they don't mention spectrum and/or frequency range per channel... These are so important due to the fact that if you have a system that uses frequencies that are expensive/impossible to license you have a dead product... The spectrum of that frequency that is used per base station, user etc.. Is important because if you purchase a 100mhz block and have to use 20mhz for each "node" on the cell site, and the fcc only allows that portion of the spectrum to be overlapped in an oh so finite way.. It could become impossible to make money of this thing becuase you can't deploy it. This product has to use a high frequency, (+2ghz) and use a large portion of the spectrum to achieve it's data rates.. (20mhz or more) At least to achieve those data rates consistently at long distances. The problem with a small spectrum lotsa signalling (datarate) and long distances is that it will become harder to filter out what is data and what is noise. You can only fit so many oscillations in the wavepath before even minute changes make it impossible to reliably communicate a signal. Your only options then are to make the wavelength longer in the same space of time (more spectrum) or to get really fast, and accurate chips to decode those wavelengths reliably. Then the question is raised.. Just use a really long wavelength!.. Problem with that is that you have then a signal degeneration issue due to the fact that different frequencies travel ever so slightly differently through the air. And when they get to the destination, can be just as impossible to determine if that wavelength was signalled in the same slot or the next slot.. Slow down the slots and now you have a inherently lagged to hell system... Bottom line on this cisco thing is that you get 44mbps directly below the tower, but the reliable data rate actually ends up being 20mbps 5 miles out... 10mbps 10miles out, and 5 at 15miles, etc.. etc.. If that.... (don't count on it due to the fact that theoretically you could do this on paper, but factor in environmentals and you go to hell)... Oh yes, did I mention that these are probably FULL duplex rates? Realization on a download or upload will only be half of the above advertised value in the press release.. (unless of course you are doing both u/ling and d/ling at the same time OF COURSE assuming that your modems are not asymmetrical... Bottom line, it's cisco's hype to try and capture a market before it actually gets a product... Benchmarketing has been around for a long time... Wait until real world trials and test data come back from this whizbang technology...

End-to-end crypt (2)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487838)

End-to-end encryption only works if the other end does it, too. Even then you are subject to traffic analysis, unless you use encrypted tunneliing to some unrelated server.

Of course encrypted tunneling to a server solves the on-the-air-in-the-clear problem, too. (But it also provides a fixed central location for a physical tap.)

Perhaps a plurality of encrypted-tunnel servers? B-)

Re:Move to the city! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487839)

I can't even get cable TV where I live, just outside of a small town. Yes, it is expensive for companies to serve these rural areas. That is the problem we would like to see *solved*, not be told that we should all move to the city. Maybe this new wireless technology could help. I could imagine our local ISP here buying a transmitter and serving the entire county. That would be sweet! Better than shelling out $95 per month for an always-on single-channel ISDN line.

Cheaper and *Faster* (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487840)

Cheaper and *Faster*: Check out the 2011DS units. With this system, you can get upwards of 150Mbps of aggregate bandwidth per tower/building. The 'trancievers' are more expensive, but are full-fledged routers, with a big feature set, and great throughput. The base station cost is less than 1/3 for a maxxed out rooftop.

Re:Cool, but not going to revamp telecom (2)

netpuppy (77874) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487841)

Absolutely, it's a start ... as microwave systems were also a start. Problem here is that your basic distribution systems are all fiber-based. Satellite (in current form) is too latent, RF or Microwave doesn't go far enough clean enough, etc. etc.

So even if it is built in such a way that you are freed from the local loop charges of your DSL line, the cost is still going to be handed to you by your provider as they have to pay localtelco for local loop charges on the circuits they add to take care of increased capacity, and long-haul carriers for more backbone capacity, and so on.

An even better start, in my mind, would be to design a system like this that does voice/vid/data, and frees you as a consumer from Ma Bell's + Cableco's presence in your house. Of course, that requires 99.999% reliability, and all that, so it is a long way off.

This will work in rural areas? (2)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 14 years ago | (#1487842)

The use of ghosting is to get around things that block line-of-sight. In rural areas you don't have a forest of buildings. If it's flat, you have line of sight. If it's hilly, treat the hills as "buildings" and pick up a ghost.

If it's a forest of trees you might have a problem.

Re:Well, WHERE IS IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1487843)

Something that many DSL providers dont tell you is that if a market already has cable modem access, it gets placed in a lower priority. This included "announced" arrival (even if the cable company delays it) since they want a "clean" market for at least 2 years to recoup initial costs...
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