This page references conference presentations and articles in our reports on what happens when a broadband home user leaves the nest. It covers many aspects of emerging broadband services, including "Metro Wi-Fi" and WiMAX.
"Nomadic broadband" refers to broadband services that can be used in many different places, but typically cannot be used while in motion, such as Wi-Fi hot spots
"Mobile broadband" refers to services that can be used while in motion
"Portable broadband" and "personal broadband" include both nomadic and mobile services
This year was different. Every year we come back from CES and people ask what exciting new toys we got to play with. This time, instead of just talking about new chips and technologies, Sandy cut short the chip interviews to play with new portable media and IP voice toys. It was fun, but expensive.
While some speeches at the recent WiMAX World 2006 in Boston felt like a pep rally, we saw lots of signs of progress. The heightened industry interest in WiMAX was reflected in nearly doubling the attendees over last year. We saw real products and many of the major players from the telecom infrastructure world, showing that WiMAX is becoming part of the mainstream.
Two Approaches To Mobile Video--Orb Networks and MobiTV (BBHR 9/9/2006)
Mobile video is a big deal. MobiTV and Orb Networks are two companies with very different mental models of what consumers want and how to provide it. Orb approaches the market with the vision that customers already own and subscribe to lots of music, photos and video, and see their job as making it all easily available to the customer when she's away from home. MobiTV is more focused on the mobile phone experience and providing "snack TV" in short bursts, acting as both service/application platform and content aggregator. We recently visited both companies to learn more.
Extending the Range of Metro Wi-Fi--Ruckus MetroFlex (BBHR 9/9/2006)
Ruckus Wireless specializes in smart antennas and smart software for improving the range and quality of wireless networks. Their initial focus was on improving the range and quality of Wi-Fi in the home. In an update with CEO Selina Lo, we learned more about their new product designed to improve performance of Metro Wi-Fi networks. Although investors and analysts thought they were crazy when they first entered the Wi-Fi home networking market, their success to date speaks for itself.
Raising the Bar: Sprint and Cable Ops Make A Big Deal (BBHR 11/7/2005)
Now it's time for the quadruple play. Many big players are focused on integrating mobile into the bundle. An announcement about how cable operators would obtain the spectrum, mobile services and integration with their video and data businesses has ended the suspense about how they would add mobility. The recently unveiled joint venture between Sprint Nextel, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Advance/Newhouse aims to do more than just glue wireless voice onto cable's current bundle.
In our "always connected" world, it's not just technology that keeps changing. People's lifestyles, industry structures and the products and services they count on, are morphing in front of us. Our concepts of "real time", "at home" and "living room TV" are being changed by PVRs, devices like Slingbox, and MobiTV. As new devices keep flowing at the consumer, it will be interesting to see which have real value and which are simply "how many functions can I put in one box"?
How many remember HomeRF, @Home, Enron broadband backbones, or the broadband subscriber base so small that we reported annual growth rates of 75%? As we reach the fifth anniversary of publishing our Report on the Broadband Home, we look back at where we were in 2000, where we are now and some of the key directions for the next five years. The journey isn't over. Before the end of this decade, we look forward to real "whole home" networking at 100 Mbps, personal broadband and lots more.
CES 2005--The Next Big Thing: Video-on-the-Go ("Vidi-Go") (BBHR 1/25/2005)
What was big at CES? Our answer is the dawning of Video-on-the-Go--what we're terming "Vidi-Go". It's logical, since mobile phones have fulfilled the "call from anywhere" promise for voice, and broadband wireless technologies like WiMAX are poised to add the "anywhere" dimension to broadband data. Video innovations like TiVo first addressed the desire for "time shifting". Vidi-Go, which addresses the desire for "place-shifting", is a natural complement. We review a raft of products we saw at CES, including those for use anywhere in the world, those that address your time spent in a car and those that give you flexibility to move around the home.
CES 2005--"Broadband on Steroids": New Wireless Networking Technologies (BBHR 1/25/2005)
Imagine the challenge of trying to keep two CEOs, a promoter Group Chair and a Chief at the FCC each to their allotted time slots. At CES, that was Dave's challenge in a session he organized and moderated on "Emerging Technologies". Topics included new wireless networking technologies for MANs, LANs and PANs plus some views from a long time Chief at the FCC .
The greatest value of a show like WCA's Winter Conference is that it gathers together all the really key players at one time and place, so you can meet with them privately and learn what's really going on. We learned a lot about Mobile WiMAX and the emerging WiBro in Korea.
Last month we described the current Wi-Fi deployment in Florida. Our expectation was that the next likely step was for the city council to vote in March on expanding Wi-Fi coverage city-wide. The council has moved the vote forward and citywide coverage has already been approved.
It wasn't exactly an exotic vacation, but a recent trip provided us the opportunity to try out three very different forms of portable broadband. One system was designed for use in a moving vehicle; another, sporting a low entry price, for traveling to various spots around town; and a third for people in municipalities that believe portable broadband should be a public service, like roads.
City-wide broadband seems to be moving from technical experiments in small cities into the mainstream of big-city thinking. The recent announcement of plans for city-wide Wi-Fi in Philadelphia is only the tip of the iceberg. We report on some of the recent announcements, technologies and issues.
In the same way that mobile phones have become commonplace over the past decade, we expect mobile broadband data devices will do so over the next ten years. The groundwork is being set with people's increasing use of broadband at home, the growth of Wi-Fi home networking and hot spots, the ubiquity of personal portable devices (in the form of cell phones) and the emergence of technologies which promise affordable equipment for non-line of sight broadband over wide areas. The broadband home is extending far beyond the four walls of people's houses into "broadband anywhere". What's not clear is which service providers will reap the benefits.
Clearwire in Jacksonville: A Wireless Case Study in Progess (BBHR 3/17/2003)
The words "broadband" and "wireless" are appearing together with increasing frequency. In the US and many other places, DSL and cable remain the major paths for delivering broadband services to consumers. Clearwire's launch in Jacksonville, Florida provides an opportunity to see what happens when broadband wireless is introduced in a city where both cable and DSL services have been available for some time to many of the residents. We visited to see how they are doing.
As people get used to having a broadband connection to a mobile device, they start wishing they could be connected wherever and whenever they want to. This article covers some recent developments in wireless technologies and services that promise to make broadband available anywhere. We conclude that wireline combined with Wi-Fi will often be most effective in and near buildings, and new "WirelessMAN" technologies will dominate where there's lower population density.
We were struck by a full-page ad with this headline in the Sunday New York Times and thought it was time for an update on things wireless: the emergence of 802.11g products; notebook PCs with built-in Wi-Fi; and lots of activity in hot spots.