RCP to Replace WiMAX?

I am a student of history which is ironic because when I actually took history in high school, I wasn’t such a good student. Other than Teddy Roosevelt hitting someone in the back of the head with a  2×4, I think I probably blanked out the rest of the year in Dr. Marino’s AP history class at Westhill High School.

I acknowledge that hundred-year-old history bores me but recent history fascinates me. Especially as it relates to technology. One thing I have learned is that whenever any technology tries to take on Ethernet, it loses. There were a few competitors over the years and in each case, Ethernet morphed and became even more popular.

WiFi is wireless Ethernet and as such, part of me always thought WiFi would morph, making it difficult for WiMAX to be successful.

To date, this really hasn’t happened but perhaps that will change as a result of Intel’s Rural Connectivity Platform (RCP) which allows WiFi signals to be sent up to 60 miles at a cost of about $500 per router.

While this technology is in its infancy, the existing standard always has the advantage as there is such great economies of scale due to the massive production runs the incumbent enjoys.

Will RCP replace WiMAX? I am not sure… But it seems it will certainly be a serious competitive threat in some instances and as WiFi Ethernet always does…We can expect it to evolve to allow cheaper and more powerful solutions.


  • tom
    March 22, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    certainly the interesting thing about WiFi versus WiMAX is the use of unlicensed spectrum. that combined with $500 routers open up the possibility for some very interesting small business opportunities(thinking a fiber optic line and a few dozen customers) for even the small time entrepreneur that wants to get into the wireless ISP business in rural areas.

  • Rich Tehrani
    March 22, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    You are absolutely right. Once again the dynamics of the industry have changed and disruption continues. One of the biggest challenges in tech and especially communications these past years has been trying to see where things are headed.
    The pace of innovation is absolutely staggering and I hope RCP sees the light of day and becomes a common technology which gets faster and cheaper over time.

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