Aug 4, 2007 story titled Public Wi-Fi: Past its Prime?
"There is still a lot to be done in WiMAX," he said. "One of the reasons that-Wi-Fi mesh and Wi-Fi hotspots make sense is that there are literally hundreds of millions of devices today that are imbedded with this technology."
David Robinson, vice-president of business implementations for Rogers Communications, counters that over the long haul, WiMAX is simply the better technology for outdoor use, so there is little point in municipalities pursuing Wi-Fi.
"Wi-Fi was built to be an indoor LAN extension for a few hundred feet. There are a limited number of non-overlapping channels. This is not a flaw that has to be fixed-- this is a design feature."
Maybe so, but the fact is that present WiMAX offerings require either a portable modem dependent on its own power source (as in Sympatico Unplugged and Rogers Portable Internet) or, in the case of Bell WiMAX in Home, a fixed modem.
"You can't use those services in a park. You need to walk around with a modem looking for a place to plug in," says Dave Dobbin, president of Toronto Hydro Telecom.
Toronto Hydro Telecom's Dobbin feels there is room for both technologies. "There are places where WiMAX makes more sense than Wi-Fi," he says, "specifically low-density metropolitan areas. This is not a technology argument, this is an adoption argument," says Dobbin. "We deployed the first large scale Wi-Fi metropolitan network in North America, and most devices are now pre-packed with Wi-Fi."
Robinson, who agrees that this is not necessarily an either-or discussion, nonetheless stresses that at the end of the day it's the long-term appropriateness of a given technology that has to be assessed. "Infrastructure investments are capital-intensive," he says. "Wi-Fi is ideal for what it was designed for: indoor WLAN extensions. Providing a carrier-grade network is a different proposition. We can't charge people for a service that degrades in the middle of a building."
Aug 4, 2007 story titled Toronto Hydro Says Wi-Fi Works Great. What about Subscribers?
Mobile WiMax isn’t yet mobile; Wi-Fi is. WiMax in Canada is enormously more expensive in this pre-standard version: C$45 to C$65 per month; Toronto’s Wi-Fi, C$29. Only problem? Toronto’s Wi-Fi network hasn’t increased in area for some time, and the head of the company, quoted in this article extolling Wi-Fi, fails to mention its tiny size.