Feeds

Amazon spaffs MYSTERY private Wi-Fi waves all over Apple's orchard

Web bazaar taunts Cupertino with secret radio tests

Boost IT visibility and business value

Amazon has been testing its own radio network, seeing if Globalstar's private Wi-Fi technology fits the Amazon business model, and if customers would pay for better wireless networking.

The news comes from the usual "people with knowledge" who've been talking to Bloomberg about Amazon building a test network in Apple's home town of Cupertino. But given Amazon's aspiration and Globalstar's desperation it's not greatly surprising.

Globalstar is in the satellite phone business, a niche market at best, so it has been lobbying US regulator the FCC for permission to use its satellite radio spectrum on the ground. That spectrum includes the top half of Wi-Fi band 14 (starting at 2.4835GHz), which Americans aren't permitted to use.

Globalstar would like to open up band 14 to US users of Wi-Fi, but only those who've paid a licence to Globalstar. Band 14 would operate as a private wireless data network, clear of congestion and guaranteeing speed by excluding anyone who couldn't afford a licence.

The company hopes its promise of 20,000 free hotspots for schools and colleges will sway the FCC's mind, but it also needs paying customers which is where Amazon comes in.

The Amazon Kindle Fire will happily use band 14. The model sold in Japan works in that frequency range just fine; tweaking existing hardware should be easy enough, perhaps with just a downloaded update. Amazon could then promise owners better connectivity as a value add, assuming it could convince some hotspot providers to switch on the top band too.

Globalstar will ask for some serious cash, so expect negotiations to be long and fraught. And that's assuming the FCC decides to approve the scheme at all. But the idea that Amazon techies are walking around their Cupertino research site enjoying their very own Wi-Fi band is entirely believable, and if they're not then perhaps they should be. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.