Wireless Disruption

The following is a portion of my April 2006 Internet Telephony Magazine Publisher’s Outlook:

I think this year will see serious wireless disruption. In my life, I have witnessed many a technology look to replace Ethernet only to find out that Ethernet was an evolving standard that kept changing with the times.

So, instead of replacing Ethernet, we just kept upgrading it. No matter what new technology came onto the scene, it never gained traction.

History repeats itself and, if you picture WiFi as the wireless equivalent of Ethernet, then you can figure the technology will keep evolving as well to fight off the replacement technologies.

In this case, I think WiMAX may be the technology that gets hurt by WiFi. Technology already exists to extend the reach of WiFi, but I anticipate this will be the year where we see a technology emerge that extends the range of WiFi in such ways that WiMAX loses its edge in many applications. Mesh networking may be this technology, but I imagine that WiFi’s range can be extended to a few miles without too much effort, and mesh networks, coupled with long-range WiFi might eliminate the need for WiMAX in areas where it is feasible to pepper your access points.

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