Category Archives: Technology

Mobile Phone SIM Cards With Integrated WiFi Hotspots, Applications and Commercial Models

The mobile telecommunications industry recently announced a fascinating development: the integration of a WiFi hotspot inside a standard GSM SIM card. The entire WiFi hotspot including antenna have been integrated into the tiny 25x15x1mm SIM card. When inserted into a normal GSM phone, the SIM card uses SIMtoolkit to access the data bearers (like GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, etc) available on the phone. Hence creating a WiFi hotspot around the phone. In my experience, the range of such a configuration would be limited (metres rather than a hundred metres), but this technology offers the potential of accessing the internet from your WiFi enabled netbook using a standard mobile phone.

This technology was originally conceived by Telenor, who were at the time investigating solutions to locate mobile phones with a high degree of resolution within buildings. They used a WiFi access node integrated inside a SIM card to report back the WiFi cells in range, hence determining the mobile phone’s approximate position. This in my opinion is an innovative solution to an age old problem. Telefonica, working with the SIM vendor Sagem Orga (Morpho) recently launched the SIMfi, as a commercial product.

The question which remains unanswered is, “is this technology for technologies sake?” Or is there a real commercial model underlying this technology. There are a number of potential applications, for example, effectively using the WiFi link to replace a cable (tethered connectivity) to enable laptops to access the internet. For accurate in-building location. Or, for the creation of millions of moving WiFi hotspots to provide a data network backhauled using the mobile network.

In my experience, mobile network operators try to move traffic off their cellular networks (like EDGE or HSDPA), on to fixed WiFi networks wherever possible. This is to alleviate Quality of Service problems that they are currently encountering. Hence, it’s most likely that any embedded WiFi device within a SIM will be used as an access node not a HotStop. Other than by government mandate, there are few highly successful, paid for, location applications.

Update 2014: it seems that the integration of WiFi into a SD memory card has proven to be a much more popular option among consumers. Location update supported by WiFi or GPS within a handset device has become a very popular feature. Although many innovative location aware applications have emerged, and many have become successful, mobile operators are still in search of location applications that represent a material revenue stream.

(c) Andrew White 2014. Reproduction permitted provide no changes and links remain intact. All rights reserved internationally.

Andrew White has over 20 years experience in the international telecommunications industry, including as Chief Strategy Officer of a listed mobile operator (carrier) with a market capitalisation in excess of $3b and over 9 million customers.

Municipal WiFi

Municipal WiFi networks (“MuniNets”) are city-wide 802.11x (b,e,g,n) (wireless) mesh networks that can run an average city $10-15 million.

Wireless transmitters are positioned throughout the city in public right-of-ways like atop street poles, traffic lights, and pedestrian traffic areas.

The mesh network creates a “fabric” of connectivity that allows anybody with a wireless device to see the network, attach to it, and, subsequently, use the Internet for free.

The state of Muni-WiFi currently look like this: 159 existing and operational networks; 54 networks under construction; and 78 Mini-WiFi’s under RFP (request for proposal). Muni-WiFi is a big deal – some big names are getting into the picture like Google, Microsoft, Earthlink, Cisco, and Motorola; example – Portland, Oregon is getting their MuniNet up by the end of 2007 through a partnership with Microsoft and a company called MetroFi; Google’s in San Francisco in partnership with Earthlink.

Okay, so everybody wants a piece of the action but if the connectivity is free, you might wonder, “er-what action”? Well, in Portland, MetroFi will push banner ads at the top of the browser for free connectivity, and if you want connectivity with no ads, that’d be a cool $20/month paid to the local municipality, please.

Think of it: a free, public domain hot spot the size of downtown.

If you’re into finding unique ways to fund city government, this is looking pretty compelling: suddenly you’re an ISP and capable of directly competing with local teleco’s, LEC’s, and ISP’s. You’ve got economy of scale on your side – a literal city of interconnected users – and a bunch of advertisers salivating over a steady stream of narrow-targeted ads to WiFi owners.

On the other hand, if you’re not about open services and are into private enterprise, the explosion of “MuniNets” must look pretty scary. Think how LEC’s and ISP’s are going to find it even harder to compete against a public utility. Further, think of all of the hardware investments made by thousands of individuals and businesses to setup their own hotspots throughout town – key to their strategy to attract and retain customers, now people can wifi wherever they want and they don’t need to be sipping your coffee.

And if you’re a technology service provider, you’ve got to be in a downright panic. No more wifi routers to configure within the home or office; no more problems with privacy and security; no more threatening scare tactics about who may be sniffing your wireless packets. Why? Connectivity on a “MuniNet” is professionally managed and available from the street… just like water. Crap – there goes next year’s business plan.

There’s a lot of risk here, though. MuniNet’s are being implemented with current standards of wifi that don’t hold a candle to the next generation of technology – 802.16 WiFiMax: 75mbps throughput in a 30-mile radius operating at 2.5-2.7ghz. Providers of this technology might be able to leapfrog the MuniNet and tap right into suburban areas that are beyond the municipal reach, rendering the MuniNet obsolete.

Regardless, the writing’s on the wall: WiFi as a utility is here. If you’re not preparing for a mass consumer exodus from privatized services like cable, xDSL, or ISP’s to a nearly costless public utility, or, if your business depends on any of those services (like router hardware and software sales, service and support relationships, installation and deployments), or, if you’re not planning on how to leverage free bandwidth to lower your own operating expenses, ouch – it’s going to leave a mark after it whacks you upside the head next year.

Reasons to Replace WiFi With WiMax As Your Wireless Service

Whenever a new year rolls around, people are always full of ideas on how to make their lives better. Some of the goals that people set for themselves are easier to achieve than others. One of the easiest is improving your ability to connect to the rest of the world by changing the way you access the Internet. Some people use the Internet mostly for their job. Others prefer it as a source of entertainment. And still others use it merely as a means of communication and socializing. Regardless of what your reasons are for getting online, there is now a way that you can do it better. These days, more and more people are using mobile methods of accessing the Internet, rather than stationary connections. Some of these wireless services are better than others. Here are some top reasons to choose WiMax (short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) over WiFi as your wireless Internet technology of choice.

1. Because it provides the best way to work from home. Telecommuting is very popular at the moment, and WiMax makes it also a very easy thing to do. Unlike WiFi networks, which are really just wireless extensions of wired broadband connections, this high speed Internet service is entirely independent of the restrictions of physical wires and thus is able to go with you wherever you go. The coverage area provided by a single network can extend over an entire city. This, in turn, allows you to make the most of the time you have away from the office, whether it is at home or sitting in traffic during a long commute. By being able to get your work done anywhere, you can increase your overall productivity, as well as the amount of free time that you are left with at the end of the day.

2. It represents the future of Internet technology. In the evolution of wireless service, WiMax is the next generation. When it was first introduced, WiFi technology was considered cutting edge, but it is now becoming outdated as a way of getting mobile Internet access. Do not get left in the dark ages of wireless Internet access – stay on top of things by upgrading today.

3. You do not have to worry about finding an open network. When you use WiFi to get online when you are out in a public place, you have to find a network that is not protected by a password, unless you are in a place where someone can provide you with that password. With WiMax, this is an unnecessary hassle. These networks provide much wider access than local area WiFi networks, and you always connect through your own subscription.

4. It is more affordable. WiFi rates are notoriously expensive. A WiMax subscription, on the other hand, need not break the bank. There are monthly packages available for as low as thirty dollars that provide unlimited Internet access. It is also possible to get pay-as-you-go plans for only ten dollars a day.

Verizon Wifi – A Breakthrough From Cable?

Mobile computers, such as notebook computers and PDA are the fastest growing segment of computer industry. Many of the owners of these computers have deskto Machines on LANs and WANs at the office and want to be connected to their home base even when away from home. Since having a wired connection is impossible in cars or planes there is a lot of interest in the wireless networks. Wired connectivity has now become a thing of the past, with the advent of new technology such as WiFi, the internet connectivity has entered a new era. The hassle free handling and unwired system increases the mobility of the user enabling him to multi task and explore the internet from the comfortable confines of the living roon.

With the number of systems increasing there is increase in the demand for wireless networks.

A US based company Verizon communications is the largest company providing telephone services. Now they have introduced a new service called Verizon wifi in may of 2003 in order to meet the growing demand for wireless network connections. This corporation has targeted New York city and plans to provide the wireless connectivity over the whole of New York city. Presently the have installed 150 wifi access points and plans to add 850 of more.

Competition with T mobile.

With Verizon communications taking long strides in providing wifi services, another telecommunication firm T-mobile (leading wifi provider) is facing a stiff competition from Verizon.

In order to gain more market share verizon has introduced total free wifi connection [] to its exclusive internet users. Any user who wants to get connected to the internet through any hotspot just needs to type in user name and his/her password with no extra fee.
T-mobile has responded by collaborating with other wifi service providers such as Starbucks cafes and Borders bookstores to increase its network area.

The rapid advancement of Verizon wifi has threatened the business of many DSL cable network providers.

The Verizon wifi is getting very popular among the users since it guarantees to provides better and faster connection to the users. Since Verizon Wifi has a wireless network it has distinct advantage over cable network as it provides mobility. Its popularity stems from the fact that this enables the user to access the internet from any corner of the area under WiFi spectrum. It is indeed a revolutionary concept.

DSL companies are countering by providing additional services along with the internet connections by integrating telephone, TV, internet services. They are also trying to give more bandwidth to the users.

How to Convert a Desktop Computer to WiFi

WiFi or wireless fidelity connection makes internet connection a lot more convenient. In this way, you can connect more computer to a wireless connection to anywhere in the house. The process is fairly easy as long as you have the right tools to use.

You need to make your desktop computer wireless ready first. While you can connect to a wireless router using an Ethernet cable, it is still better to connect using wireless signals as this is really the whole point of the process.

Unfortunately, most Desktop PCs are not yet wireless ready. If your computer belongs to them, you can purchase wireless card and install it in your mother board the same way you will install a memory card.

The next thing you need to do is to purchase a competent wireless router. This usually costs less than a hundred dollars for a decent brand. Once you have these ready, do the following steps:

Step 1: Place your router on an area where it can transmit signal to every part of the house easily. This should be next to your DSL or wireless internet adapter. If you are using DSL, you can remove the Ethernet connection that connects the modem to your desktop. Connect one end to the modem and the other end at the back port of the router.

Step 2: Now that your desktop is wireless ready, it should be able to pick up signals once you turn on the computer, router and modem. Turn the modem first and then the router and then your computer. Allow the router and modem to process the connection first.

Step 3: Do some configurations to your wifi connection. Log on to the IP address of your router settings, input password and username and then change SSID settings and password settings to make it more secure. Now that you have wireless connection, other computers can enter your local area connection.

Step 4: Save the changes you made and then click log off router settings. You can connect as many computers as you can. As long as it is wireless ready, it will already pick up signal. Just input the router password to the other computers and you should be able to connect to the computer.

Just follow these steps in converting your desktop PC into a computer that is wireless ready. Be able to experience the benefits of connecting and communicating with other computers without the cumbersome and restricting cables and wires.