Receive new posts as email.
This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator or JiWire, Inc.
Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2006 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.
Former editor Nancy Gohring files this report for IDG News Service on WiMax’s role between DSL and T1: It’s much cheaper for businesses who need certain levels of service that fall outside DSL offerings but don’t want to pay the often high cost of DSL to choose WiMax-like options. T-1 is charged typically by the mile from the central office, which makes it cheap in some urban areas and in areas with competition, but very expensive in many parts of many cities. In some towns, just a plain T1 with a zero mile (intra-central office) charge is still very expensive.
WiMax and its ilk make it affordable to deliver T-1 or fractional T-1 speeds at a cost that’s not nearly as dependent on distance, only coverage area. While business DSL services—such as symmetric DSL and other flavors—can sometimes meet T-1 reliability and speed, WiMax et al. is a much simpler way to achieve goals in appropriate locations.
There’s also the T-1-plus problem, mentioned in passing in this article. Seattle’s Speakeasy Networks, which offers nationwide DSL and T-1 services, has a pre-WiMax network running in downtown Seattle using Alvarion’s WiMax ready base stations and CPEs. They found that a lot of their business customers wanted flavors higher than 1.5 Mbps each way, and that multiple T-1s cost too much. Two T-1s deliver symmetrical 3 Mbps (3 each way) when bound together. Their broadband wireless offering is 3 Mbps or 6 Mbps sliced as 2/4, 4/2, 3/3, or 2/1, 1/2, or 1.5/1.5, respectively.
Well, I should really say, WiMax goes Park City, but that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it: A theater in Park City, Utah, premiered a film that was delivered to the theater wirelessly, in part. Surprise surprise: the effort seems to have been sponsored or at least orchestrated by Intel. Intel workers in Oregon encrypted the film, which was shot digitally. It was streamed to Salt Lake City, then wirelessly transmitted to Park City. A so-called “WiMax” connection transmitted the film to a mountain there where it was then sent to the theater. As we all know, WiMax equipment doesn’t yet exist, so let’s assume that the equipment used is made by a vendor that intends to try to certify the equipment.
Much of the conclusions drawn in this article regarding the affect this process could have on film distribution are more the result of digital filming than wireless technology. Nonetheless, wireless might make the process of digital film distribution that much easier if it makes hooking a broadband connection to the theater cheaper and faster than using wireline.
I saw a couple of digital movie previews at the Cinerama in Seattle. It was one of just a handful of theaters that could digitally show digitally shot movies—the first big film to be totally digitally shot and digitally shown was one of the new Star Wars films. At the time, I wrote a story for the Seattle Times about the first screening of the film and learned a bit about how digital filming can ease the pain of distributing actual film to theaters.
That Star Wars movie was wirelessly downloaded, via satellite, to the theater. The download took over six hours, so perhaps the wireless method used in the recent Park City experiment went quite a bit quicker. A broadband wireline connection could also be used to download the film.
Per the theater managers I talked to, there’s a bit of resistance to upgrading the theaters to accept and view digital films. The theater managers don’t see much benefit to them and so they’re reluctant to spend the money on the upgrade.