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Australian WiMax Pioneer Calls It a Disaster

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the evolution-of-the-tubes dept.

Wireless Networking 202

Anonymous Coward writes "Garth Freeman, CEO of Australia's first WiMax operator, sat down at the recent International WiMax Conference in Bangkok and unleashed a tirade about the failings of the technology, leaving an otherwise pro-WiMax audience stunned. His company, Buzz Broadband, had deployed a WiMax network over a year ago, and Freeman left no doubt about what conclusions he had drawn. He claimed that 'its non-line of sight performance was "non-existent" beyond just 2 kilometres from the base station, indoor performance decayed at just 400m and that latency rates reached as high as 1000 milliseconds. Poor latency and jitter made it unacceptable for many Internet applications and specifically VoIP, which Buzz has employed as the main selling point to induce people to shed their use of incumbent services.' We've previously discussed the beginnings of WiMax as well as recent plans for a massive network in India.

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The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1, Interesting)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836732)

There is no technical excuse for spectrum regulation in it's current form [reed.com] . If wimax has faults, the cause is poor spectrum allocation. Why is it that we still have broadcast TV and AM radio? Nothing short of spectrum liberation is just or acceptable.

All of AM? (3, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836776)

Do you mean all radio on the AM band including aircraft and CB or just the AM spectrum that is used by broadcast radio?

I can just hear it now: RUSH: "It's a Liberal conspiracy to get rid of us who tell the TRUTH!"

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22836782)

Maybe because hundreds of millions of people listen to AM radio every day -- and those of us driving 1991 cars can't just switch to digital radio (too expensive). The world doesn't have to conform to your personal priorities.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836830)

Maybe because hundreds of millions of people listen to AM radio every day -- and those of us driving 1991 cars can't just switch to digital radio (too expensive).

If getting rid of the AM band gets rid of all those fundie talk shows, I say nuke it NOW! From orbit! With sharks with frigging lazers stapped to their heads!

You still have FM in a 1991 car, last time I looked.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (4, Funny)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836940)

Why are you looking into other /.er's cars?

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (3, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836946)

I hope someone mods you funny instead of informative, but it's really hilarious when Slashdotters scream about the Constitution when child porn vendors or suicide bombers get caught online, but when it comes to silencing people who have a different political viewpoint than you do then any means including violence is perfectly OK.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837680)

When their "different political viewpoint" involves outlawing OUR right to speak on issues, or even hold those viewpoints without being arrested and full body cavity searched if we try to leave our homes, I think it's ENTIRELY appropriate to pre-emptively strike to remove their ability to affect government policy.

Following the rules of the game simply does not apply when people are trying to change the game to step over you.

Feel free to mod/meta-mod me off-topic if anyone mods this post up from -1.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837788)

Why the hell to you hold such animosity toward the libs and dems?

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (2, Interesting)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838134)

A viewpoint cannot physically do anything, it is abstract, not concrete, only people can physically act upon the viewpoints. It is these actions then, which if illegal, should be outlawed, not the viewpoints behind the actions. You cannot legally in America forcefully silence a person because you disagree with their views. Lyle Stuart once said,

"No one needs a First Amendment to write about how cute newborn babies are or to publish a recipe for strawberry shortcake. Nobody needs a First Amendment for innocuous or popular points of view. That's point one. Point two is that the majority-you and I-must always protect the right of a minority-even a minority of one-to express the most outrageous and offensive ideas. Only then is total freedom of expression guaranteed."

What you are suggesting, that is, thoughtcrime, is tantamount to fascism.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22838484)

When their "different political viewpoint" involves outlawing OUR right to speak on issues, or even hold those viewpoints without being arrested and full body cavity searched if we try to leave our homes, I think it's ENTIRELY appropriate to pre-emptively strike to remove their ability to affect government policy.

Holy shit, do you even realize what a flaming hypocrite you are?

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837726)

Personally, I think it's good that they speak freely on AM radio. That way, I can know who I want to stay FAR away from. I can easily see how hearing some of that gave King the ideas for Children of the Corn.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (3, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837812)

Are these the same Slashdotters?

I find it annoying when people try to point out the hypocrisy of "Slashdotters" without citing individual people who are hypocritical that way. We are individuals, and despite the apparent groupthink, we can actually disagree. I don't agree with you that all Slashdotters are the same, and I don't agree with GP that fundie talk shows should actually be censored. Oh, and I don't agree with pretty much anything fundie talk shows have to say, but I will defend to my death their right to say it.

But nuance (sanity?) like that is completely lost when you lump us all in a group like that. Good job.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838018)

I don't agree with pretty much anything fundie talk shows have to say, but I will defend to my death their right to say it.

I used to buy into that as well, but its wrong. Should people be given carte blanche to lie, just because it's about their favourite superstitious belief?

People in the past have said (and continue to say) stupid things - would you really "defend to my death their right to say it"?:

  1. The jews deserved the holocaust
  2. A well-hung nigger is the one hanging from the nearest tree
  3. AIDS is god's punishment for gay people

How about people like Fred Phelps [wikipedia.org] ? He said that 9/11 was god punishing America. Ditto with the people killed in the Missouri bridge collapse. Or his tactics at military funerals, which deliberately go way beyond any limits of decency.

Lets look again at what you wrote:

I don't agree with pretty much anything fundie talk shows have to say, but I will defend to my death their right to say it.

If you're willing to throw your life away to defend Fred Phelp's "right to be an asshole", you value yourself less than any two-bit hooker or crackhead. People with principles will use their judgement rather than blindly follow their "freedom of speech" dogma to self-defeating extremes. Principles come with responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities is to make sure that liars don't stand unchallenged. The fundies are liars. So are the scientologists, etc. Heck, look at the crazies going on about holy jihad over "images of Mohammad." How would they know those are really "images of Mohammed" if they're forbidden to have images of Mohammad? Goofballs, just like any other religion. Dawkins is right. Such stupidity only continues to exist because we don't challenge it, using rationalization such as "I may ot agree, but I'll defend to the death ..."

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838178)

So in your limited view of the first amendment, or indeed, free speech in general, to what extent should speech be protected? Do you think that only nice speech should be protected? Only majority speech should be protected, is that your view? Once you start judging who gets free speech and who gets silenced based on mutable moral standards, you run into the impossible issue of whose standards to embrace, and majority groupthink prevails, and the minority is silenced. I hope you don't hold any minority views, because you are advocating that people who do be persecuted for holding them.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838350)

People in the past have said (and continue to say) stupid things - would you really "defend to my death their right to say it"?

Yes. The point of a right is it is absolute. Allow too many exceptions and they'll come for you. The country was founded on those principles, and we should understand how vital they are.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (2, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838408)

I'll say that Fred has the right to say what he wants to say, just that people also have the right to not to listen to him. I swore an oath not to protect Fred but freedom of speech and our nation in general. I'll admit to having an occasional fantasy involving him and a high powered rifle. Then I think, he's not worth it.

IE if he wants, he can demonstrate on his own property, on public property available for that purpose, etc... If he can afford a radio station, he can spew all he likes. That's what I'll defend. Today you can't say 'I like puppies' without offending somebody. Freedom of speech protects speech that people find embarrassing, offensive, etc...

Doesn't mean that he has the right to disrupt other people's freedom of speech(IE the funeral he's interrupting).

As far as AM radio goes, I understand that there have been a number of liberal attempts to break into that broadcast medium. Most have failed. Besides, all you have to do to get away from, say Rush, is to change the dial or turn the radio off. What are you going to do to get away from Phelps? Leave your son's funeral?

There's being offensive, there's being controversial, then there's being a dick. Phelps is a dick.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (2, Insightful)

moxley (895517) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837952)

That's just a ridiculous weasely exaggeration and misrepresentation to try to prove a point and when you have to do that it generally means that whatever you are trying to say doesn't stand up on it's own.

I have never once heard anyone on /. defending child porn or suicide bombers in relation to the constitution; the point I have heard often is that the constitution is being destroyed, people are being manipulated or forced into giving up their rights - rights which are inherent in being human, not GIVEN by a fucking government.

Violence is abhorrent and I have never seriously heard people on /. adovcating using violence to "silence others opinions."

Violence for self-defense is another story....

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (3, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837050)

all those fundie talk shows
I wholeheartedly agree, Air America [airamerica.com] has got to go.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (2, Insightful)

NobleSavage (582615) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837156)

If getting rid of the AM band gets rid of all those fundie talk shows, I say nuke it NOW! From orbit! With sharks with frigging lazers stapped to their heads!
I wish it were that simple. The problem is they are like cockroaches, when you try to kill them they just come back stronger. They thrive on persecution.

You consider a car radio expensive? (1)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836886)

Your ISP, cable, phone and cell phone all charge you monopoly prices each month. A $200 car radio with a $500 install service is cheap next to that but the real cost will be more like $50 at Walmart after a real conversion to rational spectrum allocation. You will still get your daily Rush if you want it.

This will ruin Christmas for the rest of us but it's worth it. If your favorite AM DJ has any sense, they will package everything up so you can have archive copies and share them with your friends. Oh, the joy of that kind of sharing.

Re:You consider a car radio expensive? (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837700)

Yea, sure. But what about the people that can't even afford all that? I know people personally who can't even afford dial-up internet. Just because it's cheap to you doesn't mean everyone in the world can afford it.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22836876)

So your argument is that the reason the WiMAX system design is poor is spectrum regulation?

These are to different issues. Come back when you can string a logical argument together.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838004)

I think part of the argument is legitimate, in that we're stuck in the unlicensed bands, where there is significant opportunities for interference both within those bands and from licensed bands sitting on the borders at each side.

2.4ghz and 5.6ghz/5.8ghz are good bands for line of sight transmission. Unfortunately, these frequencies are increasingly noisy and all of the fancy algorithms in the world can't help you when some of son-of-bitch with a home-made outfit is spewing out at obscene power levels.

As to non-line-of-sight, well, the higher bands just don't do so well. It's one thing to have a wood-framed house with drywall, which doesn't offer much of an obstacle, but apartment buildings and the like, where there's significant amounts of steel and concrete aren't going to cut it too well, at least without tons of access points all over the place (translation: $$$). The 900mhz band is pretty good at non-line-of-sight, but this section of the spectrum has been utterly poisoned by cordless phones (2.4ghz is getting that bad too).

What WiFi needs is some protected chunks of spectrum at the low, middle and high. Without that, forget about it. Maybe this latest auction will open some stuff up, but I doubt it.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836898)

Why is it that we still have broadcast TV and AM radio?

Stations of relatively modest power can provide services to distances of about 100 miles.

Receivers are cheap, portable and ubiquitous.

The AM radio is as accessible and familiar to the four year old as it is to the centenarian.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (4, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837242)

Add to that the fact that AM radio is robust, understood and ubiquitous technology. The shit could it the fan tomorrow. Major economic collapse, dying infrastructure or whatever. AM radio would still be around and working. There is something to be said for a civilization having enough depth and legacy in its technology that there become no single point of failure.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837450)

The AM radio is as accessible and familiar to the four year old as it is to the centenarian.
AM? I have never ever listend to a readiostation in my life. It is all FM here in Europe.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838086)

AM? I have never ever listend to a readiostation in my life. It is all FM here in Europe.

Medium-Wave broadcasting in the U.S. evolved when the country was still significantly rural.

Distances in the U.S. can defeat the European imagination.

The 50,000 watt "clear channel" station could be heard across several states - and to istances of 1,000 miles under favorable conditions.

AM radio had a distinct local or regional identity which persists to this day.

100 kW is modest and simple? (1)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837666)

There is nothing modest about broadcast power requirements and antennas. They are some of the tallest structures built by man and they require hundreds of kilowatts. They also require special technical knowledge to operate. Now compare that to the cost and ubiquity of wifi. All radio could be like that.

These issues and more are well covered in the link I provided [reed.com] and it's author [wikipedia.org] knows what he's talking about.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (5, Funny)

ma1wrbu5tr (1066262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837116)

Because my old tube radios will survive the EMP, I'll still be able to listen to the static.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (4, Insightful)

gambolt (1146363) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837122)

In event of natural disaster, I'd rather have an AM radio than VoIP.

AM radio is a really durable technology. You can listen to solar powered broadcasts on crank powered radios.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837246)

You don't even need that. One diode and some high impedance headphones is all you need. You don't even need any kind of power. There is no amplification, but I dare you to find one other broadcast technology that can draw all the power it needs from the signal its self.

Even if we switch off of AM and FM and such to fancy digital encodings, every radio should have the ability to tune into old-fashioned AM signals built in. It's trivial to add, and functions no matter what if they need to put stations up in an emergency.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837428)

I dare you to find one other broadcast technology that can draw all the power it needs from the signal its self.

How about the message "I hate you," as transmitted via a 50-megawatt laser blast to the head?

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837808)

You don't even need a proper diode. Just a rusty razor blade and a safety pin.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837820)

I dare you to find one other broadcast technology that can draw all the power it needs from the signal its self.

RFID. Ok, maybe not quite a broadcast technology, but you were kind of asking for it :P

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838038)

Not to mention that in the worst case, a purely electromechanical transmitter can manage AM radio. For that matter, even a loose lightbulb in a lamp can send morse code to a nearby AM radio. All of that is why those frequencies got used in the first place.

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

Isao (153092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837426)

You can listen to solar powered broadcasts on crank powered radios.

Or you could listen to crank/solar-powered broadcasts on a radio with no external power source at all [wikipedia.org] except the radio waves it receives.

AM Radio = Range (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837164)

AM radio is still around because it is ubiquitous, cheap and it's lower frequency gives it long range. That's the technical advantage over FM which offers clearer signals and more bandwidth but shorter range. If AM radio had no advantage, no amount of regulation would save it.

Yes, you are one of those anti government nutters.

Re:AM Radio = Range (5, Informative)

SlashWombat (1227578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837484)

AM radio spans roughly 1 MHz (IE: approx 530KHz to 1.6 MHz.) You CANNOT fit a broadband wireless service into that space ... furthermore, the resonant antenna length for 1/4 wave varies between (approx) 150 metres to 40 metres. Like to see you stick that out of the back of your Laptop.

doubtful if you could effectively get one 54mbit channel in that space, plus, because it is NOT line of sight, someone a few miles away WILL interfere with your local transmissions.

Low frequencies (below about 2 MHz) hug the ground, this means AM does not have line of sight issues. Some AM broadcast stations have service areas of hundreds of miles (kilometers) (radius)

FM is 88.. 108 MHz. 1/4 wave here is roughly around 1 metre. Still a thumping huge antenna! These frequencies are considered line of sight, however, there is a small area extending beyond line of sight. Enough bandwidth for a few 54mbit channels.

WiFi is generally at 2.4 GHz. Same band as Microwave ovens use. Has to do with the frequency of maximum absorbance of water. (Thus used in ovens!) 1/w wavelength approx 4 cm ... okay for Laptop, (easy)

To get sufficient bandwidth, only UHF and up is really useful. But, get too high in the microwave band and the signal wont even get through a thin wall.

So, there are trade offs that genuinely make sense for wireless broadband. (lots more reasons as well ...)

Re:AM Radio = Range (1)

SuluSulu (1039126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837524)

Wish I still had my mod points. Mod parent up!

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837638)

Probably because more people listen to AM radio and watch broadcast TV that would ever be WiMax customers. And they are generally a more consistent voting block then slashdotters, so you better hope they don't say "Let's get rid of all this internet wireless so it quits interfering with my Paul Harvey!"

Re:The real dissaster is spectrum regulation. (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837684)

The AM radio spectrum is useless for WiMax anyway. 530-1600KHz (the entire AM radio band) will support only 500Kbps (0.5 Mbps) under ideal conditions (which never happens).

There REALLY should be more unlicensed spectrum up in the GHz range as opposed to the tiny sliver (3 whole non-interfering channels for all 802.11b/g traffic + microwave ovens, baby monitors and cordless phones) the FCC grudgingly grants but the A.M. band isn't it and isn't anywhere near as large as it seems.

The Television spectrum is considerably more attractive, but I notice the part of that the FCC took back has been promptly auctioned off and once again, all the masses get is the finger.

Real life experience with WIMAX (3, Informative)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836762)

For some time now I've been taking part in WIMAX trials here in Hamilton Ontario. [community-media.com] This too was trumpeted as a glorious thing that would change the face of our city, bring us into the high tech 21st century etc.

In practice although WIMAX seems to work OK (aside from a real lag much of the time, which may just be bad server configuration by Primus Communications), My sense is that the company isn't really committed to it. I doubt that there will be a serious public roll out.

The idea seems great - a wireless Internet connection that works wherever you are. The reality seems a bit less rosy, and my guess is that a city wide wireless network will need a good level of customer support - not Primus' strong point by a long shot.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836826)

They should be making deals with current access points for better coverage. Thats how a real wifi network will work. 1000s of access points. Especially McMaster! I could connect to the McMaster wireless from my place (20min bus ride away) wimax can't claim this. Attempting to work wifi like cellphone towers will not work since it wont have the coverage with a few towers. The problem is coming up with another business structure means change, a thing companies refuse to do.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836938)

They should be making deals with current access points for better coverage. Thats how a real wifi network will work. 1000s of access points.

and the cost of building and maintaining 10,000 access points will be what. exactly?

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837128)

the cost of building and maintaining 10,000 access points will be what. exactly?

Less than the cost of laying fiber to millions of homes.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (4, Insightful)

Shaman (1148) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837252)

Myopic thinking. The value and the income from those access points will be a fraction of what can be carried over fibre. Namely voice, data, video, emergency services, business services like remote backup, et al.

But forget that, it's the least of your worries. Your real problem will be to make the access points and subscribers not all hear each other in the limited frequency available, drowning each other out, causing network brownouts (or blackouts), hurting efficiency, causing lag and re-registrations, etc. Go downtown Toronto and you'll see what I mean. It just doesn't work the way people want it to.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837510)

Downtown Toronto can be annoying as hell. My school has a wifi network setup, but we're also close enough to uoft campus to get some of their networks, and our building is split, so the we have yet another network originating from inside our building (which we can't use but our computers will still connect to), and then we have onezone access point right in front of the building. Our school's signal is usually strong enough to stay on the top of list of access points... but whenever you walk into a deadspot, all of the sudden your internet dies as windows tries connecting to 4 different networks.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22838216)

Precisely. Bandwidth requirements are going up fast. Meanwhile the available wireless bandwidth stays flat. How anyone expects this to work out is beyond me. Wireless as wide area mass distribution is dead, the real future is in closer range wireless, coupled with fiber everywhere.

Or more succinctly: wireless is no substitute for wires.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837668)

... and about a million times less useful, too. WiFi can't possibly replace fiber; it serves a completely different purpose.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (1)

Novarum (1179173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838074)

Actually both work. Building out fiber is always a good thing since a wire ALWAYS has more capacity than a wireless connection for the same amount of technology applied. But ... it is VERY expensive to lay down fiber - particularly those last few hundred meters. Wireless - when well applied and deployed - can be very good. This story is consistent with what I have been finding in our survey of wireless networks - WiMax is about as good as the best of the WiFi networks ... but a bit more expensive. At these frequencies, indoor coverage will always be marginal without repeaters at the exterior wall boundary. However, companies such a Meraki have shown we can make such repeaters at VERY low cost. An effective metro WiFi network will need on the order of 70-100 access points per square mile (what Minneapolis and Toronto have) and an effective WiMax network network will likely need 5. However, the WiFi nodes are $4-5k/node installed and the WiMax nodes are $200-300K/node.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838152)

Less than the cost of laying fiber to millions of homes.

once you have dug the trench and laid the fiber, how much does it cost to maintain it?

compared to maintaining 10,000 wireless APs continually exposed to the weather, small animals, vandals, etc?

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837196)

Make a deal w/ the city and put them on telephone poles, They already have power and phone line access plus decent LOS. So maybe around a few hundred dollars for every 4 blocks? + about as much maintenance as phone aka not much. Supplement that with existing wifi from coffee shops/unis/mcdonalds and customers in home wifi. I don't think a standalone company could easily do it. But existing providers could to supplement in-home connections.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (1)

Shaman (1148) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837378)

Here in Ontario, the municipalities sold a big chunk of the pole right-of-ways to the hydro companies. Best of luck getting co-operation from Hydro One. We should all be incensed, seeing as how the taxpayers built and paid for them.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (1)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838210)

Municipalities own poles or do you mean the land under them by right-of-way? I thought that most poles would have been installed and paid for by the power companies and in some cases maybe bell. So electricity rate payers would have paid for them through their distribution charges.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (2, Interesting)

compwizrd (166184) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837044)

you should look into the Bell/Rogers WiMax service.. we're right at the fringe area of coverage(the antenna software claims we're linking up from about 11km away), and yet for the most part it's stable at it's 2mbit link speed.

The 10 gb a month bandwidth limits are horrible though.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837528)

I have a 3G data subscription that used to be capped at 10 gigs, too. After that, they'd charge you through the nose. Now they've changed the TOS: There's still a 10 gig cap; they won't charge me extra after that, but they might just terminate my contract. Which is sort of good, as I never use it now that I don't waste hours in transit, and the damned thing is 60$/month (and I'm locked into the contract)

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (2, Interesting)

Shaman (1148) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837224)

If you have line of sight, everything is just fine. 30km is easily do-able. If you don't, then physics is just a bitch, my friends. At 3.5Ghz, you aren't going to get through much no matter what you do... the waves (or particles, depending on how you observe them) are going to be like bullets hitting water, the larger the calibre, the less far you can get the bullet with any real force.

700Mhz spectrum should be interesting. It has monstrous value and application - however the performance will be an issue since it can go so far, but doesn't have that many cycles to use for bandwidth compared to multi-Ghz radios. The temptation to put 1,000 people on a single 54Mbps (my wild-ass best estimate for performance) access point will be extremely hard to avoid.

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (3, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837240)

You found the problem and didn't even mention it really:

This too was trumpeted as a glorious thing that would change the face of our city
Never believe the hype. WiMax has a great deal of potential but it will never eliminate the common cold, nor compete with wired broadband for a mere pittance of what wired infrastructure costs. It does however have a niche market that is quite a bit bigger than what most people think. As point to point relay for a WiFi network it has some really good uses, just as microwave links are used between cellular sites in some areas.

If you use a Honda to haul gravel you too will be disappointed in the performance... perspective is everything and a damned good car analogy will explain anything

Re:Real life experience with WIMAX (1)

simonpage (459386) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837390)

I too have been testing WiMAX in the UK, for the most part its short comings are down to the high frequency (3.5GHz). With a Tx Power of 32dBm (about a 1W), its coverage is very small, but it is very easily contained.
Remember with WiMAX you have a limitation of how many users can have the top speed throughput. If someone is on the outskirts of your coverage, the site has to 'give' you more resource, so this limits everyone else.
The operators are NOT trying to make another cellular network, they will be trying to cover high density industrial units, offices etc
However, the HSPA (at least in the UK) is being offered at 7.2Mbps down and 2.1Mbps up - (only in London at the moment)

I agree, its propper banjamied (0, Offtopic)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836772)

Me kangaroo hates it and me sheila left me over it. Fortunately I still have me sheep.

Who's fault? (4, Interesting)

smtrembl (1073492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836784)

>Not all WiMAX operators are unhappy.
>
>Internode says an Airspan-supplied network is providing consistent average speeds of 6Mbps at >distances up to 30km, with CEO Simon Hackett describing the platform as "proven."

So where exactly lies the problem? Implementation?

Re:Who's fault? (1)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837026)

Internode.. first I thought it said Innertrode (Office Space), hihi.

why sugar-coat it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837294)

> latency rates reached as high as 1000 milliseconds
Say it like it is. Latency of 1,000,000,000 nanoseconds. UNACCEPTABLE. Maybe some people are more interested in bandwidth, but as for me, I'm not waiting a BILLION nanoseconds for my data.

Re:Who's fault? (2, Insightful)

DevilM (191311) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838098)

It is probably a combination of many different factors. A reporter should really dig in and learn more. Regardless, WiMAX can and does work. We have a network in Atlanta that sees less than 20ms latency, very little jitter and less than 1% packet loss. We carry real PRIs to demanding enterprises that work flawlessly. Unfortunately, our network is the result of blood, sweat and tears as opposed to some magic technology offered by ours vendors. This stuff is hard, but very doable.

http://www.oneringnetworks.com/ [oneringnetworks.com]

Most Disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22836810)

Netx technology, please.

Re:Most Disappointing (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836866)

Netx technology, please.

You mean this [netxtechnology.com] ? What does a business that specializes in "tuning your computer" have to do with WiMax?

Re:Most Disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22836912)

Wrong, try Next [merriam-webster.com] .

Re:Most Disappointing (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837738)

Wrong, try Next. [merriam-webster.com]

Wrong - read what the GP poster typed - "Netx", not "next".

Here, I'll make it easy for you [slashdot.org] ...

Netx technology, please.

...keep ignoring that "whoosh" sound overhead ...

huhuh he said bang cock (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22836820)

what the fuck is a cornolio beavis?

complaining about it for years (4, Interesting)

seringen (670743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836884)

I remember when a bunch of wireless guys got invited down to Intel for a private overview three or four years ago and we spent most of the couple hours trashing most of their basic assumptions about the technology. Their major response was, "well by the time it is deployed we will have figured it out"

WIMAX isn't going to be the success that it should be because I think it was driven more by marketing than technology.

I'm going to fiddle my fingers until they have a few more disasters till they get it working. In the meantime mesh will definitely deflate the momentum WIMAX needs right now.

Re:complaining about it for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22836994)

WiMAX definitely has problems, not all of which are technical (over-eager marketers, for one). Two things which are required are more time for maturation, and better use of multi-antenna technologies.

> In the meantime mesh will definitely deflate the momentum WIMAX needs right now.

What is 'mesh'? Do you have some specific technology in mind? My guess is that mesh wireless is much farther from commercial deployment than WiMAX.

Re:complaining about it for years (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837102)

The problem with a mesh network is that you have a serious chicken-and-egg problem. It's not going to do work well (or at all) until you get enough of your population using it, and you can't get enough of them to use it until it works well. Mesh networking will probably be piggybacked on the deployment some other wireless technology, and will be used to supplement it.

Re:complaining about it for years (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837448)

Not really. Small meshes are easier to get working than large ones, so the first step in deployment is to dangle meshes off the ends of existing infrastructure. You'll find a static access point in, for example, a coffee shop, and then use a small mesh to extend the range out into the street by relaying via devices in there. Once enough people are carrying mesh-capable devices, you'll be able to extend the range all the way to (for example) the access point in the library. At the point, any computer in the mesh can have some of its traffic routed via either connection. Once enough meshes are deployed and overlapping then the existing static links are just for bulk traffic or fallback use. The problem is that the complexity of mesh routing does not scale well. If you've solved the routing problem, you can deploy easily. Until then, meshes are limited to small-scale use.

Re:complaining about it for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837992)

Another thing that limit meshes is latency. Wireless systems naturally have a significant latency, and increasing the number of hops has a price there. Strangely, mesh proponents never talk much about this and focus on throughput... That will also limit meshes to small meshes. Or no mesh at all to be frank. For emergency set-ups (disaster relief) or ad-hoc system (military) meshes are ok, but I wouldn't pay to get on a wireless mesh system and suffer the latency. It's already high enough as it is.

Re:complaining about it for years (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838396)

The lower bound on latency for a mesh is the path distance divided by the speed of light. This assumes routing takes no time, which is obviously not the case in the real world, but is can be reduced significantly as technology progresses.

Clearwire (3, Interesting)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 6 years ago | (#22836970)

Maybe someone can clear this up- does Clearwire use WiMax or not? Wikipedia didn't make it clear. My experience with them was that they didn't either have the infrastructure or the bandwidth to support their meager customer base. The thing worked just fine during the day when nobody really used it, but during busier hours you had significant lag and flow problems- however, the download rate was still good, but you can't play games with a ping of over a second.

To me, WiMax is the future version of 56k.

Re:Clearwire (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837488)

Lots of people seem to be confused about whether Clearwire is WiMax.

My Clearwire device has an FCC ID of PHX-RSU2510F. The FCC docs say that it operates on 2.496-2.690Ghz. The chipset leads me to believe that it is an implementation of the Motorola Expedience [nextnetwireless.com] Wireless Broadband CPE.

The Motorola RDM specs say that the device can operate in Expedience (up to 2W) or WiMax (up to 0.5W) modes. They also say that in Expedience mode it is a layer 2 smart bridge, while in WiMax mode it is a router with NAT, DHCP and firewall functions.

Since my device acts like a layer 2 bridge, I conclude that it is in Expedience mode. Having just checked the Wikipedia article, I see that the first paragraph agrees:
"Clearwire currently uses Expedience wireless technology, dubbed Pre-WiMax, transmitted from cell sites over licensed spectrum of 2.5-2.6 GHz in the U.S. and 3.5 GHz in Europe."

So no, they use the WiMax frequency range, but they can transmit a stronger signal. That seems to be the main difference between the technologies.

This Motorola promotional video [motorola.com] talks about some of the infrastructure and business justifications for using their Expedience gear:

Re:Clearwire (1)

pm (11079) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838290)

Wikipedia's Clearwire entry says at the top:
"Clearwire currently uses Expedience wireless technology, dubbed Pre-WiMax, transmitted from cell sites over licensed spectrum of 2.5-2.6 GHz in the U.S. and 3.5 GHz in Europe."

And Clearwire's site says that they are using OFDM ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OFDM [wikipedia.org] )

Motorola's Expedience overview is here:
http://www.nextnetwireless.com/overview.asp [nextnetwireless.com]

So it looks like it's something like WiMAX because it's using the same type of signal multiplexing method. As Wikipedia says, Expedience is something like "Pre-WiMAX.

As far as WiMAX being the 56k of the future - well, I'm sure that's what Intel is hoping for. :)

Re:Clearwire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22838330)

my experience with clearwire is that my upstream bandwidth is too low to make a skype video call. It just can't handle sending video and voice.

I call democracy in the U.S. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22836980)



a disaster with class acts as John "I was a war prisoner, therefore, feel sorry for me and vote for me" McCain.

Frequency, not just technology (3, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837008)

NLOS performance depends on a number of things, including how well the underlying technology can handle multipath and otherwise distorted signals. But the main thing is probably frequency; the higher the frequency, the worse the NLOS performance. WiMax is designed to run at many different frequencies, and the article fails to mention which one was in use.

The issues with latency and jitter, though, probably aren't as dependent on frequency.

Re:Frequency, not just technology (1)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837042)

The issues with latency and jitter, though, probably aren't as dependent on frequency.
Although I am no RF expert, it seems to me radio will never have significant latency or jitter, and the latency and jitter are just artifacts caused by the L2 protocol trying to compensate for poor radio performance (retransmissions at L2, bah). So if the RF worked well (indeed at lower frequencies for non-LOS) you wouldn't see these either, I think.

Re:Frequency, not just technology (5, Informative)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837178)

I am no RF expert either, but I have been on the receiving end of WiMax-ish technology, and the jitter was so bad, it was completely unusable for VoIP and even made ssh annoying at times.

This was kit designed to work for up to 10 km (6 miles) and I had line-of-sight to the base station, which was about 150m (500 ft) away.

Sky.. sky.. SkySomething. SkyPilot? Some kind of wierd meshy-network, I was also connected to the "master" tower, not a leaf.

The problem, as it was explained to me, was that it has a collision/backoff algorithm not unlike that of 10-base-2 ethernet ("thin net"). So, the 50 (or so) neighbours I had, plus the leaf towers (2 of them, I think) were causing me to not get "slots" with the master on a timely basis. Hence, introducing jitter.

So, your L2 protocol hypothesis is reasonable from my perspective, although we can eliminate poor radio performance as a direct cause. Changing the radio from broadcast to something like time or code division multiplexing would be a good solution for reducing jitter, but probably causes other problems (like decreased burst bandwidth and range).

My solution? "*sigh* - cancel the wireless link and order me a up a T1"

Wireless is nice because it's easy. But it sure ain't there yet.

Re:Frequency, not just technology (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22838196)

Ok, but WiMAX normally doesn't depend on a collision/backoff system for voice traffic.

WiMAX has a central scheduler at the base station (BS). For best-effort (BE) traffic, the CPEs use a contention region to send a bandwidth request asking for the needed amount of bytes. The BS considers all requests and their QoS and allocates resource accordingly. Once a BE flow has had an initial grant, the other requests can be piggy-backed with sent data to avoid contention. So you typically only have to go through contention for the initial packet of a stream, even for BE.

For voice, WiMAX can use UGS (Unsollicited Grant Service). Based on the voice codec used, the BS will sponaneusly grant the needed amount of air resource at the needed period to the CPE. There's no latency problem anymore (the WiMAX frame is at 5 ms) and it's totally predictable. Of course, this requires tying the voice system to the WiMAX back-end so that the proper scheduling is applied to the voice flows. WiMAX has everything needed to support this.

So when the CEO of Bozzos Networks complain about 1000 ms latency for voice, it can only happen if they took some severe short cuts and use BE for voice traffic in a severely overloaded (under dimensionned) cell. It's easier to put the blame on the technology than to admit you don't really have a clue about what you're deploying...

I'm ready to bet that the vendor they used didn't have the backbone support ready to use UGS for voice. The CEO says that wireless DOCSIS worked fine. Hear this: the WiMAX QoS framework is directly derived from DOCSIS! There's UGS in both case, same name, same mechanism! Except that with DOCSIS, the back-end integration is well ready (PacketCable). And from someone knowing both DOCSIS and WiMAX, the later is better suited for wireless.

Lastly, the average cell size for NLOS deployment is typically ~1 km (this depends on the frenquency). If you deploy indoor-outdoor devices you're line of sight and can go much higher. The 70 Mbps and 70 km that some WiMAX marketroids have hyped have been a joke for all wireless techies since day one. Anybody serious knows what to expect in term of cell size / coverage, and plan accordingly. Hearing a CEO discovering this and publicly whining about it is a bit embarassing indeed. He may be the only guy in the industry that took these figures at face value!

I'm eager to see some wireless big boys deploying, we can hope to see better results. Small operators should wait until the technology has been cleaned-up by the big boys before moving into the field. Wireless is extremelly complex, and has in everything it always take some time to get to a stable, production level quality.

Re:Frequency, not just technology (2, Interesting)

slashjunkie (800216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838360)

Actually, all half-duplex ethernet, regardless of physical media, even up to 100 Mbps (Gig-E doesn't support half-duplex), uses CSMA/CD [wikipedia.org]

And any system that uses a "contention" based method to determine who can transmit, will be prone to jitter, due to the randomness of when a device wants to transmit. This includes 802.11, which uses CSMA/CA (collision advoidance, not collision detect like ethernet).

Most wireless technology that has to guarantee specific latency to multiple clients uses some sort of static TDMA [wikipedia.org] or TDD [wikipedia.org]

WiMax / 802.16e does support QOS (and dynamic TDMA), including realtime polling service for VoIP applications. Perhaps the telco was just using Best Effort configuration.

I used to deploy a lot outdoor wireless gear from Proxim (and previously Orinoco). Most of their gear either used a proprietary MAC in the same band as 802.11 (ie, 2.4 GHz ISM band), or some completely proprietary concoction, such as some of their circular-polarised gear in the 5 GHz ISM band.

Orinoco were one of the first companies to solve 802.11's "hidden node" problem, where peers could be NLOS (and thus unable to hear when other TX'ed), by using a polling system, controlled by a master node that could see all peers. A standard 802.11 would have performed very badly in such a scenario, due to frequent collisions. This proprietary system was essentially TDMA, and ensured relatively consistent latency (apart from dropped frames due to RF noise).

Proxim Tsunami MP gear used a strict TDMA system to ensure that peers could only TX when they were given permission to. The base stations had a 60 degree beam width, and to get 360 degree coverage, you simply put six of them together in a pod, on alternate channels. They used GPS time signals to sync all units in the pod, ensuring that all of them had synchronised TX slots - they'd all transmit at the exactly the same time, then go into RX mode at the same time.

They also had a similar system called a QuickBridge, which could run at up to 54 Mbps aggregate bandwidth - and unlike 802.11g, this did actually have a throughput of 54 Mbps, not 20 Mbps (which is the best I ever saw from 802.1g). It used a TDD system, as it was only two units in a configuration. Using some simple traffic shaping, we successfully blasted a 2 meg voice circuit across it, had terminal server traffic running (even fancy screensavers within the terminal session to stress it out a bit), while copying large files in BOTH directions across it. All performed perfectly, and voice was crystal clear. Ok, the traffic shaping was partially responsible, since it policed bandwidth and prioritised the voip - but the main thing to take note of, is that TDD/TDMA systems can have heavy traffic in both directions without causing massive amounts of retransmits.

Wifi Max massive network in India - My Ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837070)

One word it sucks and stay away. It is the worst service. I had TATA Wifi Max ( http://www.tataindicombroadband.in/ [tataindicombroadband.in] ) connection and it used to work only 10 days out of 30 days. Now I'm switched back to Wired ADSL - It just works everyday [TM]. I wrote review of their sucky service on http://www.mouthshut.com/ [mouthshut.com] review site and it was taken down twice by TATA by sending them DCMA or some sort of legal threat. Just stay away from Wifi Max if you need 100% peace of mind

To the OP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837100)

"latency rates reached as high as 1000 milliseconds"

1000 milliseconds = 1 second

Re:To the OP (1)

homesteader (585925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837354)

1000 milliseconds = eons for network traffic.

From http://www.ciscopress.com/articles/article.asp?p=357102 [ciscopress.com]

"One-way latency (mouth to ear) should be no more than 150 ms."
"Average one-way jitter should be targeted at less than 30 ms."

Re:To the OP (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838130)

which is even worse than satalite, which requires a trip into orbit and back. how in hell are they getting that much latency on a terrestrial connection? i'm typing this over a wireless internet service (sasktel's DOCSIS-based LOS wireless broadband. runs in the 2.5GHZ band, i believe. uses a big 24dB dish antenna (roughly the size of a satalite dish), so not portable.) and current uptime is 73 days and counting. bandwidth isn't great (2m/256k) and it's pretty pricy ($60/month), but it works for the last mile (or last 15 miles in my case).

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch (USA) (2, Insightful)

sciop101 (583286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837168)

If you build it, they will come. OR NOT.

ISPs losing interest in citywide wireless coverage.

http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/23/1213255/ [slashdot.org]

Is patience in order?

In the '90s I could not drive from Oklahoma City to Dallas and keep cellphone service during the entire trip. If I was in an area not serviced by my cellphone provider, I had to "force" roaming by turning my Motorola flipphone off and on, then wait.

AT&T saw no future for data networks and the Internet!r

Re:Meanwhile, back at the Ranch (USA) (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838124)

I tend to think that the next generation of viable wireless data transmission backbones is already being built... by cellphone companies. Say what you will about the pokey speeds, the edge network is pretty widely available and quite useful. The same with Verizon's data services. 3G is just getting a rollout here in the US, but it is proven and solid abroad.

ISP's have a lot of experience with wired networking, but I just don't see them having the experience or the impetus to compete with companies whose lifeblood is competing in the wireless space. And, of course, 4G is already well in development.

Compatibility problems with Bluetooth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837358)

WiMax typically operates at 2.3GHz or 2.5GHz while Bluetooth operates at around 2.4GHz. Both use time-slot based scheduling but the WiMax scheme has not been designed to be compatible with Blueooth's. This apparently causes real difficulties in designing WiMax-based mobile phones that can be used with Bluetooth headsets.

1000 milliseconds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837522)

Also known as "one second".

Reminds me of the Futurama episode with the giant fish dragging them underwater:

"7 hundred feet.....8 hundred....9 hundred....10 hundred.....One thousand feet!"

Hype "just works" (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837534)

Marketing of new technologies is incredibly potent. Case in point: Bluetooth 2.0. To this day there are those asking "when is suchinsuch going to suppot Bluetooth 2.0? I want to blahblah wirelessly," even though everyone who has actually fallen for it will post its failure to do anything even remotely similar to what it promised, i.e. wireless audio fidelity. But with a slick logo and media outlets jumping to reiterate the claims as though proven, the new tech is always seen as the only good solution even before its released.

No shit, Sherlock (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837618)

It does not give the frequency range that this project is using but Wimax generally uses at least 3.5 Ghz and up to 66 Ghz, as spessified in the original draft which was 11-66 Ghz. I've seen some stories which quote Australian broadband wireless as being 4.2 Ghz. This is the frequency range that is at least at the lower limits of the microwave C-band and at 66 Ghz you are all the way into the EHF range and well past the Ka-band. By definition this kind of frequency range is extremely line-of-sight. Even trees can interrupt the signal and in the upper multi-gigahertz range rain fade becomes a serious issue.

This should not be news to anyone who knows the first thing about wireless communications. This isn't new either. These frequencies have been used for radar and microwave relay since the Second World War and it's well known that 3.5 ghz and greater require very direct line of sight. Even the antennas used for these can't have more than a very thin fiberglass raydome on them without interfering with the signal.

above 30 Ghz you run into serious limitations of reliability even for line-of-sight. The beam can be so narrow the the antenna tuning needs to be so precice that it can very easily get out of alignment. This is highly directional and atmospheric absorption is an issue. This has always been limited to "near field line of sight" transmission.

I am at a loss to explain how they could possibly be surprised by this other than nobody involved in this ever took a class in RF systems 101 or even has a ham radio licence or for that matter has ever operated or installed a satellite TV dish.

He isn't alone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837796)

AT&T came to the same conclusion after their tests of WiMax. It doesn't live up to the promise.

We tested it at the company I work for and data rates were horrible after 1 mile.

I think its a bridge technology....hopefully to something better.

My real-life experience with WiMax (Mexico City) (5, Informative)

gwolf (26339) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837830)

I chose as my ISP in Mexico City E-go [ego.net.mx] , co-owned by Alestra [alestra.com.mx] , the Mexican AT&T subsidiary. It started offering WiMax connection in 2003 in limited areas of Mexico City (I understand nowadays it covers most of the Central, Western and Southern parts), before even WiMax was standardized. Clients get a NextNet [nextnetwireless.com] RSU unit [nextnetwireless.com] , which is basically a network bridge.
The latency complaints you state are simply not true - I get consistent ping response times of 100ms in average (with minimum response times of around 50ms) to hosts in Mexico City, 200ms to hosts in the USA. Yes, this is about 80ms higher than wired equivalents - but it's not so much of a killer. What I do get, of course, is way higher packet loss - About 5% when things are optimal, and it sometimes gets up to 50%. But yes, I'm located at a relatively poor reception area, at one of the lower-income (this means, no incentive to place many antennas nearby) neighbourhoods in the South of the city, where the mostly flat valley where most of the city is located begins to become quite hilly. The RSU unit does not provide any means (for the client) for monitoring connection, to help choose the best possible location. It only has five LEDs (and no, they are not blue, just an unfashionable old green. Bummer.) indicating signal strength, and I always get one or two of them. I have seen signal quality significantly better when at a five-leds connection.
Prices and speed are more or less in-par with Mexico's near-monopoly TelMex; I'm paying about US$40 for a nominal 1Mbps/128Kbps connection (512K guaranteed, whatever that means). The upstream data flow _is_ shaped to 128k, but the downstream speed is not - when the network smiles on me, I get up to 2Mbps. It is not common, though.
I understand E-go (back then called I-go, don't ask me why) was praised as the world-first massive WiMax deployment - Even before the standard was finalized. There are several aspects of the installed network that show clearly the gear is pre-standard (i.e. extreme sensibility to position changes - If I move my RSU over two centimeters, it has to resynchronize with the antenna. This process takes around two seconds, so no big deal).
To me, clearly, the reason it hasn't got more popular is because it is owned by a relatively small company, and has not had the muscle to stand in front of Telmex's publicity machine.
Of course, we benefit more than DSL users from having a low client density :) E-go owns 20MHz of spectrum, which allows it to give a theoretical maximum of 70Mbps to a given area. If many too people were to subscribe, each client would have much less effectibe bandwidth alloted.

I tried to be disappointed... (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837860)

I mean, this just seems like something I'd like to work, yeah? Ultimately though, I'm just pleased that the guy in charge of making it actually came out and said his service blows instead of trying to spin or hide it. Refreshing honesty from the corporate world.

All wireless internet in Australia is a disaster (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837896)

No doubt this story is true, In Australia the common names for Wireless Internet, which imply certain speeds or bandwidths are meaningless.

I recently had a vacation in eastern Australia. Sydney and the surrounding suburbs, Cairns, Port Douglas.

Like Canada, there are wireless connections everywhere, most of them locked properly by their owners.

But, here in Vancouver, you never have to hunt for too long to find an open connection you can check your email with. I found that in the above locations finding any open wireless connection sufficient for just email was nearly impossible.

I subscribe to Boingo for $8 per month, giving me access to wireless hotspots around the world. Even the Boingo hotspots were nearly useless in Sydney. If I stood in just the right place at the Imax theatre in Darling Harbour, or just the right spot at Circular Quay I could connect.

Now, If I was willing to pay the brutal local wireless fees there would have been all kinds of hotspots available from Telstra, the local phone company, for $8 to $12 PER HOUR or $30 PER DAY!!! Here in Vancouver most hotels come with free internet but they all charge for it in Australia.

I complained to Telstra about their rediculous rates, they told me that Australia is an island, with low population densities ... They had no response when I reminded them that Sydney is twice the size and and denser than Vancouver, and pointed out the undersea cables and geosynchronous communication satellites they have full access to.

I told you guys (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22838308)

Wireless anything is a big pile of steaming shit. And now the experts agree.
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