Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
| News and views on everything wireless and mobile, from WiFi and WiMAX to 3G and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).


Bringing WiMAX to the Amazon

September 20, 2006

A lot of wireless news crosses my desk every day, and after a while much of starts to seem the same. One item caught my attention this morning, however: a report about Intel setting up a wireless, high-speed Internet network in the remote Amazon island town of Parintins .


While this network is being promoted as something that will improve the lives of the town’s residents, I can’t help but wonder what unexpected consequences will occur when modern technology is brought into a culture that’s primitive by Western standards.


Probably, the results will be positive—better healthcare, more education, etc. But it is true that, in some cases (e.g. the now infamous Harvard study that proved girls on the Fiji Islands developed anorexia after television became available), technology can have unexpected negative affects as well.


For this reason, I’m pleased to see that the Amazon network isn’t just being plunked down, but is part of an initiative by Intel to improve the lives of people around the world by helping them gain access to modern technology.

Analyst: FMC Won’t Catch on Until Carriers Upgrade Networks

October 11, 2006

Here is an interesting article about fixed-mobile convergence, by Computerworld Australia’s Darren Pauli, that appeared in the October 9 edition of Pauli predicts that, despite all the talk about dual-mode (WiFi/Cellular) telephone services and handsets, most companies will hold off another five years or more before jumping on board with the new technology.

The reason, Pauli says, is that “while FMC promises reduced call costs, access to multiple communication lines via one number and seamless network switching, the mobile technology behind it is dragging its feet.”

Symbol Technologies Bridges Various Radio Frequencies with RFS700 Switch

November 1, 2006

Symbol Technologies, a company that specializes in enterprise mobility solutions, announced today what it says is the first ever radio frequency (RF) wireless switch (RFS7000) capable of bridging all RF technologies—including RFID, 802.11n, mesh, voice over wireless LAN (VoWLAN) and WiMAX.

In its announcement about RFS7000, Symbol said the switch “is designed to support and consolidate Wi-Fi and emerging RF technologies,” enabling businesses to “efficiently and cost-effectively deploy and centrally manage wireless voice, data and infrastructure devices throughout the RF spectrum.”

In an article today, Laptop Magazine reporter Jeffrey Wilson noted that the RFS7000 supports up to two-hundred and fifty-six 802.11a/b/g access port, and enables Layer 3 roaming, “which allows mobile users to maintain a connection to high-bandwidth applications as they roam.”

Here is an image of the unassuming-looking RFS7000, courtesy of

WiMAX Network in Chennai, India

November 3, 2006

India’s telecommunications and electrical infrastructures, two arguably key elements necessary for technological advancements, leave something to be desired. By some estimates, for example, annual investment of $20 billion is needed to bring the country’s electrical grid up to snuff to meet yearly demand increases of about seven percent.

But, the country is pushing ahead into the twenty-first century despite the obstacles. Red Herring reported in its Oct. 30 edition that Aircel Business Solutions has committed as much as $100 million to build a WiMAX network in the southern city of Chennai.

Yes to WiFi in Singapore, No to WiMAX in Germany

November 6, 2006

Talk about vision. The government in Singapore this past summer announced a ten-year “digital future” plan (Singapore iN2015) to make the country number one in the world in terms of adding value to the economy and society using what it calls “infocomm” technologies.

InformationWeek, in its September 4, 2006 edition, reported that one of the iN2015 goals, to have connect at least 90 percent of homes up with broadband, is being pursued in conjunction with the efforts of service provider SingTel.

More specifically, the InformationWeek report notes that SingTel hopes to make nationwide WiFi a reality in Singapore by year’s end.

Samsung Promotes Mobile WiMAX with SPH-P9000 MIT Device

November 7, 2006

It often seems to be the case that the latest and coolest wireless devices become available first in Asia, and eventually make their way to Europe and the U.S. Hopefully for us geeks, that will be the case with Samsung’s latest gadget, the WiMAX-enabled SPH-P9000 (or more affectionately referred to by Samsung as “MIT” for “Mobile Intelligent Terminal), which is a combination cell phone, MP3 player, and PDA with built-in QWERTY keyboard.

The device was unveiled today at Mobile WiMAX Summit in Seoul, South Korea.

WiFi for Cheaper, Better, Easier International Calls?

November 9, 2006

In a recent blog entry, I wrote about T-Mobile’s dual-mode (WiFi/Cellular) service being rolled out in Seattle. In the entry, I posed the question: “are consumers actually interested in dual-mode services?”

A definite “yes” answer came from a reader who asked to be identified as Levi from Nairobi, Kenya, who is attending graduate school in the U.S. and wants a cheaper way to communicate with friends and family back home.

The Skeptic Questions Interactive Mobile TV and Cell Phones as Mini Computers

November 13, 2006

A couple of items caught my eye this morning, both of which relate to the ways in which mobile technology is changing the way we live, work, and play. One is a study commissioned by Nokia, the other is a news story citing Samsung’s predictions about the future of mobile phones.

I take these news items, by the way, with a grain of salt, since in both cases the info is being provided by companies that make the technology in question—and thus have an obvious stake in the matter.

First up is a study Nokia commissioned from London School of Economics, about the impact of mobile television, specifically on the broadcasting and advertising industries.

Boost Mobile and loopt Launch Mobile Location-Based Service

November 14, 2006

Last week I wrote an article about a new location-based service from Helio that lets friends find out the location of their nearby friends using a mobile phone.

Apparently, this type of service is becoming more popular, especially for younger mobile phone users; today an announcement landed on my desk about a similar service being launched by Boost Mobile (a Sprint Nextel brand) and loopt (a social mapping service startup in Palo Alto, CA).

The service, Boost loopt (try saying that ten times fast), “leverages the only 100 percent GPS-enabled wireless network to automatically update the location of everyone in a private network of Boost customers and displays that information directly on a map on the phone,” the companies said in a press release.

In a statement, Boost Mobile’s Director of Value Added Services, said: “Fourteen to 25-year-olds are committed to their social circles and constantly want to know where their friends ‘are at.’ They also comprise the majority of Boost Mobile’s customer base. 

More Than Half of Americans Still Using Dial-Up Internet Connections

November 22, 2006

If you’re a person who recalls not-so-fondly the days of dial-up Internet connections—when you’d start a download or begin checking your mail and then go off to do something else while the process took place—count yourself lucky.

It turns out that as few as 28 percent of American households today have access to broadband Internet. That’s according to reporter Richard Hoffman in a Nov. 20, 2006 Information Week article, citing data from Government Accountability Office.

Hoffman notes that The Pew Internet & American Life Project puts the number of American adults using broadband at 42 percent.

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