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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.