BellSouth Expands Fixed Wireless Coverage

8 thoughts on “BellSouth Expands Fixed Wireless Coverage”

  1. Some added info: My friend has this in Athens, GA and gets download speends in the 200-300kbps range, so the service works. I’ve been thinking this would be the future of the last mile for a long time coming. It is much easier to upgrade infrastructure when you don’t have to manage cables running along every street. Some people will think this should be a municipal service, but it requires too much sophistication for the average city.

  2. The current technology for this service is Navini Networks. It is software upgradable to Mobile WiMax, so Alcatel would be a secondary vendor not necessarily a replacement technology. As for municipal networks, this is an easier solution to manage than WiFi mesh. A typical city would only have a handful of base-stations instead of scores of WiFi APs. Of course, base-stations are still expensive and to keep the count low you really need access to some sort of licensed spectrum. Sometimes getting access to such spectrum is not too hard. There are municipal networks being built using this Navini solution right now.

  3. michael,

    thanks for your response. would it be possible for your friend to let us know what he/she thinks of the service, why they like and what are the gripes. user reviews is what i am looking for.

  4. Peter, no handsets. The Navini gear comes in two flavors of CPE: desktop and PC Card. I guess if you want to get really creative, there are converters to attach PC Cards to PDAs, but they are very kludgy. Navini has an example of this that they show in documentation and cart around to trade shows.

  5. “A typical city would only have a handful of base-stations instead of scores of WiFi APs”…like 1500.

    up to 2-3 miles vs 500 feet.

    Yeah, roughly the same numbers as its cellular system and ideally mounted on existing cell tower to avoid wasting resources…tower rental and space costs. Interconnect fiber/microwave access.

    Instead of spending $3k you spend $30-$40k [vs the $500k necessary to get those facilities installed in the first place]and hopefully illuminate 10-30 times more potential.

    The range is always limited by the customer modem/card and 100 milliwatts will only go so far and really drains a laptop…has been the same problem for 12 years.

    Cities should start now to make sure their local cell tower users/owners allow them access [zoning variance control] at a low rate. Same with Telcos requesting to compete with Cable Video…since these same Telcos own the Cellular system.

    Street lamp poles will/could turn out to be a less than optimal sunk cost, however they could be reengineered as a upstream only collection points to reduce customer transmit power requirements…wireless PDA, etc.

  6. Dennis, you are a little optimistic in your numbers game right now. A typical city is not Philadelphia or San Fransisco but more like Dayton. So you are really talking at most a few hundred AP, not thousands. If you price the equipment and installation in real life quantities you wil find that mesh WiFi often wins right now, especially when you consider user equipment cost (approaching $0 for WiFi). In 2 years it will be a different story, but by then we may have mesh WiMax. Macrocellular architecture vs. microcellular (mesh being a variant there of) is always a complex argument and depends on the scale of the project, nature of the geography, and what resources you have available to you.

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