Mark Evans has posted a shot of the free WiFi sign at New York's Bryant Park. Seems it's "sponsored by Google." Jaws are wagging about what Google is up to and when they'll come clean. Google is working on something called Secure Access, which the FAQ page says is a tool "to establish a more secure connection while using Google WiFi."
Mark points to August Jackson's commentary last week, where he poo-poos the idea of Google becoming the nation's WiFi company.
There’s also been a lot of talk, and I’ve posted about it before, that Google are building a dark fiber network as the basis for their own Internet backbone. Engadget has a bit more on the topic, and some people extrapolated from that backbone build the fact that Google would build their Wi-Fi service. The two projects are actually tangential, but perhaps not entirely unrelated. One way for Google to cut expenses once their Secure VPN client goes on-line is to carry as much traffic on their own network as possible in order to avoid charges from existing Internet backbone providers. They can even make arrangements with T-Mobile and the other large Wi-Fi providers to link up directly to the Internet backbone they’re using. This saves Google a lot of cash and enables them to deliver better performance to the end users.
But Google offering up free Wi-Fi on some nationwide or global basis is a long ways away. Everybody getting hyped about Google offering free Wi-Fi access needs to keep in mind that in order to do that Google would need to install thousands upon thousands of Wi-Fi access points at venues throughout the country. They would have to deal with each individual venue owner to negotiate even plugging the thing in on their premises. They would then need to deal with DSL or cable broadband or even T-1 circuits to EACH of those locations in order to link it back to a backbone, and only then would it touch this network Google are evidently building. Having their own Internet backbone does NOT help them avoid this pain— not one bit.
Wi-fi White Papers
- Grand Haven Uses Proxim in First Wi-Fi Network to Provide End-to-End City Coverage - Proxim
- What IT Decision Makers Need to Know - CDW
- Metro-Scale Broadband City Network in Cerritos, California - Pronto Networks
- WiFi Clouds and Zones: A Survey of Municipal Wireless Initiatives - University of Georgia
- Municipal Wireless - Just the Facts, Please! - Tropos Networks
- Best Practices for Mobile Computing in the Field - Dell
- The Wireless City: Enhancing Productivity, Efficiency and Lifestyle - Intel
- Government Unwired: Secure Mobile Computing Arrives - Intel
- VeriSign Unified Authentication - VeriSign
- Mobile Technology Solutions for Today’s Government - Accela Communications