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DragonWave announces that EarthLink will use its licensed backhaul service: EartLink’s metro-scale networks will aggregate clusters of Wi-Fi mesh nodes through Motorola Canopy and pre-WiMax point-to-multipoint systems, which in turn will aggregate to high-speed licensed wireless backhaul. DragonWave’s system uses what they call wireless Ethernet that can offer a gigabit per second of service—up to 500 Mbps in each direction.
Ed Sutherland says no in this Mobile Pipeline article: While mobile WiMax (802.16e) has been hyped as a replacement to Wi-Fi by some parties, it’s not coming to the table until somewhere in the 2007 to 2009 timeframe in any major deployments despite companies like Intel wanting it sooner. There are other technologies in the marketplace already competing with what 802.16e will bring, too, and they might win out.
Ultimately, mobile WiMax, Sutherland suggests, will be complementary to Wi-Fi if and when it appears. It may be just another tickmark on a list of supported features in a laptop and a competitive offering to municipal-scale Wi-Fi networks.
Lenexa, Kansas has plans to deploy a broadband wireless service: The network will be used by city workers and to track city assets like trucks. Alvarion is supplying the network that should cover 30 miles. It looks like this city just decided to avoid any potential hoopla surrounding a municipal network by building one that can only be used by the city. Seems like a potential waste of bandwidth that some residents would otherwise potentially love to dig into.
Brighton Council in the UK worked with a service provider for a broadband wireless network: The network will be used by the city and will also be offered to residents. The network was at least partly funded by the council and Techworld wonders if this might be the best model for municipal networks in the future. Basically Brighton Council said they’d use the network so the operator built it and now can also sell access to residents. There are some municipalities in the U.S. that have considered this type of private-public arrangement and it makes the most sense, although where the Brighton example gets sticky is that the council provided some funding for the build of the network. Ideally, a city might guarantee a minimum amount of usage on a network for a certain number of years so that an operator can make sure the business can work.
It’s true that the hubbub we’ve seen in the U.S. over city-sponsored networks doesn’t seem to have come up in other countries. I remember linking to a story with a quote from a BT executive saying that they wouldn’t make a fuss about it. But maybe that comment was made because at the time few councils in the UK were talking about funding networks.
Lewisham, a London Borough, received funding from the government for a WiMax/Wi-Fi network: The borough is hoping to build a network that uses WiMax for backhaul and Wi-Fi for access. The network is initially expected to be used by city workers.
There has been quite a bit of interest in London from private, municipal, and educational groups to build WiMax networks. I haven’t heard much of a similar backlash as we’ve seen in the U.S. from commercial providers opposing city-funded networks.
Portland was on the very leading edge of offering public hotspots and now it seems the city is continuing that trend: Portland is soon to put out a request for proposals for a citywide wireless broadband network that will likely employ both Wi-Fi and WiMax. Intel is involved in the project. The network will be used by city and state employees as well as anyone else who wants to use it.