Feeds

Muni Wi-Fi KO'd by wrong kind of hills, trees, rain

Who knew?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Google's launch of a Wi-Fi network in its home town of Mountain View may be delayed, according to reports. The company is scrambling to build more transmitters than it originally planned, notes eWeek's Ben Charny.

It's typical of the delays in getting municipal Wi-Fi projects up and running. Bouyed more by evangelism - and lobbying dollars - rather than reality, Wi-Fi projects are experiencing the kind of issues all too familiar to experienced network engineers.

Kimo Crossman, whose activism helped push the details of San Francisco's Municipal Wi-Fi project TechConnect into the sunlight, says that municipal Wi-Fi projects in Tempe, Arizona and St Cloud in Florida also ran into the same problem.

"The need for pilots of municipal Wi-Fi seem beyond prudent," Crossman tells us.

San Francisco has additional challenges over Mountain View, he notes.

"Hills, older construction with lead and mesh which significantly reduce penetration of outside signals, and a much higher coverage requirement of 95 per cent outdoors and 90 per cent indoors are significant issues," he says.

Crossman notes that the same technology, Tropos, being used in Mountain View is also planned for San Francisco.

It's the indoor coverage that appears to be the stumbling block.

In the small town of Chaska, Minnesota, the project was forced into an upgrade almost as soon as it went live, notes Cnet.

These are familiar problems to network engineers responsible for the build out of CDMA and GSM networks throughout the 1990s. But Wi-Fi's high frequency band, which works poorly indoors, its lack of allocated spectrum and low range, mean the technology has far more problems than established cellular radio interfaces. As a consequence, leaves, fog, and rain can severely hamper network performance.

Just as hills defeated the takeover of earth by the Mark One Dalek (after an early, successful conquest of East Anglia), hills are proving a problem for the Wi-Fi evangelistas.

Because of that, dreams of replacing the cellular carriers as a reliable phone service with unregulated spectrum are likely to remain just that - dreams. At least until battle hardened 4G network technologies such as Qualcomm's OFDM and WiMAX come along. And when they do, the largest buyers of 4G are likely to be...you've already guessed. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.