It is now obvious that Wi-Fi is a classic ‘disruptive technology’ that is going to have a major effect on how we use the Internet (people who use Wi-Fi extensively can see this; and those that don’t usually can’t). The main drawback to the Wi-Fi that most of us are familiar with is that it only works in a short range (usually 300 feet), which isn’t a problem if you just want to use it for your home.
But it is a problem if you want to deploy it throughout an entire city. Is there any solution?
Yes, something called WiMax allows for a signal to extend for miles from the base antenna. Users within 2 or 3 miles would get Internet access at close to T-1 speeds and those farther out would get slower speeds, but would still have access. WiMax is just one example of how wireless technology is evolving at an unimaginable pace. Most average users aren’t even aware of Wi-Fi, and yet we already have the developed the ability to deploy wireless networking technology in ways that are even more amazing than Wi-Fi.
But ‘lack of popular awareness’ is the least of our worries. There are other impediments to getting this new technology in the hands of eager users. One problem is that municipalities and other governments that are the prime movers (or should be) in getting this technology deployed often get bogged down in political rain dancing, instead of making quick incisive desisions. Anytime a contract or business deal is subjected to the review of a bunch of local politicos, it’s never enough that the technology is going to be good for the community. Palms have to be greased and egos stroked (and that’s just to get some doors opened). Suffice it to say, that those of us who understand the value of having this technology deployed need to become watchdogs for our communities and make sure that our politicians get on the stick and make the magic happened without the usual circle-jerking.