Thursday, August 04, 2005

WiFi made more relevant

What's new? On the services end, Acoustic Energy and Reciva built the world's first WiFi internet radio. And on the infrastructure end: the next standard (802.11n) is coming closer, as two competing groups will merge. It will boost bandwidth.

What's the relevance? Good for WiFi operators, both retailers (such as KPN and other carriers who combine GSM/UMTS with WiFi) and wholesalers. Good for the uptake of WiFi-services. Markets are fragmenting: yet another way of listening to the radio. Bandwidth contraints aside, radio operators should embrace the internet. The new 802.11n standard will only strengthen the argument, as this will enable bit rates of over 100 Mbps.

What is a WiFi internet radio? “The AE Wi-Fi radio automatically links into your existing Wi-Fi network (with WEP encryption if enabled) and uses your broadband connection to access Reciva's internet radio Gateway. The Reciva Gateway then uploads channel listings alphabetically by country and genre to your AE Wi-Fi radio. There are currently over 2,500 stations registered on the Reciva Gateway and more are added every day. You simply select the station name you want using the rotary control knob and clear LCD display, and press play - as simple as that.”

What is WiFi 802.11n? WiFi is standardized by the IEEE in order to make equipment from different vendors 'talk together' (interoperability). That will enhance the user experience and it will stimulate vendors to actually make products that work . The current standards are 802.11a, b and g. WiFi is evolving rapidly, and 802.11n is next. This will take the bandwidth to way beyond 100 Mbps. Then reach will be the next contraint of WiFi. However, I recently wrote about another world's first: a WiFi signal crossing 125 miles. If things keep moving in the right direction, WiFi could even aim to replace DSL! Anyway, so far two groups are competing for a standard (ultimately hoping to collect roylaties form patents): WWiSE (backed by Motorola, Texas Instruments, etc.) and TGn Sync (Samsung, Nortel, a.o.). Under the deal they now reached, a compromise will be proposed to the IEEE in September, a final version in November.

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