27 July 2007

Communications Technology

"In the beginning" [meaning a couple years ago] there were 5 major communications medium(there are more if you count cb radio, walkie talkie, ham radio...).
They were Wifi , Cell phone (cdma/...) , Satellite, Inground Cable, Inground Phone.

Inground Cable-
inaccessible for the mobile user
great bandwidth
(services provided by TimeWarner, Cox, SBC,...)

impractical for common 2 way communication (unless you have a huge transmitter)
great coverage
(GPS, DirecTV, Sirius, XM)

2 way accessible
decent bandwidth (~60Mbps)
weak range (1/4 mile at best without a relay from a standard router antenna)
currently practically implemented mostly by piggybacking on cable signal and broadcasted from cable hotspots
(802.11 abg)

Cell phone-
2 way accessible
weak bandwidth (constantly being reoptimized, now can get mediocre transmission speeds on your cell phone, but nothing you want to use consistently)
decent range (couple of miles depending on cell phone tower and phone antennas)

Inground phone-
2 way accessible
original voice transmission mission being picked up by inground cable
current focus to support cell phone communications

with all these contenders, which technology was going to win out?
which technologies would develop to be used for mainstream communication, and in which ways?

the answer depends on 3 critical developments.
1. the digitization of old tv broadcast frequencies, which in turn frees up a whole new bandwidth, the 700MHz blocks
2. creation of WIMAX
3. how the fcc decides to auction the blocks on the 700Mhz bandwith. whether they keep a block reserved as open. whether they make "net neutrality" a priority. and how communications companies end up when the auction is said and done.

How do I see the communication picture unfolding?
Stay tuned for the next posting.

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