Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Wireless Roundup

Sunday, April 27, 2003  

Being part of a small company, I don't have the pleasure of a separate R&D department, or team, or really much of anything. So that means I occasionally turn myself into the R&D department. Last week's toys have been the Linksys 802.11g wireless equipment and the SprintPCS wireless network, both used on a laptop I borrowed from work.

The Linksys PC adapter and cable router/access point took about 30 minutes to set up. I set up the Wireless Encryption Protocol (WEP) with a 128-bit key as well. The throughput has been great and the signal strength tests I've done have been good, so far. I haven't tried my balcony because my homeowner's association (curse their moustaches!) has had it destroyed. I also tried it on my girlfriend's 802.11b network and it's been working absolutely perfectly once I set up her network for encryption. The entire setup (Broadband router, PC Card and PCI Card I haven't installed yet) cost less than $400. A pretty solid system from what I can tell and very handy at home.

The SprintPCS service uses their CDMA data network. The card is a Novatel Merlin that installs in about 15 minutes (1 minute to install, 14 minutes to download the latest version of the software). In areas where Sprint supposedly has a "great" presence I'm getting about 30Kbps. Allegedly it can reach speeds of 100Kbps but I have yet to experience that. The advantage of a service like this is access to the Internet throughout most of the United States. The disadvantages are twofold: the speed is equivalent to dialup and the cost is outrageous. Although I've deployed one of our salespeople with a card, I'm unconvinced that it will see widespread use because of those two factors.

Some people think that the future of wireless consists of almost ubiquitous WiFi hotspots vs. a national network. I think that may be right considering the cost of a national CDMA 3G buildout. Right now the cost of being an early adopter is too high for a small to medium-sized business.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 4/27/2003 09:38:00 PM

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