Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem

Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem

Summary: With Super WiFi Google would not need to build out its own network in order to see consumers offered extensive, high-speed WiFi services.


When I wrote last week about the FCC's pending action to create new unlicensed frequencies in TV white spaces, which chair Julius Genachowski has dubbed "Super WiFi," a lot of you got excited.

With good reason.

WiFi's big problem has always been its short range. Making lower frequency bands available to unlicensed use could solve this problem, allowing the creation of larger WiFi networks to replace the present hotspots.

Carriers have been quiet on the issue. Objections have come instead from broadcasters and makers of wireless microphones. The broadcasters seem mollified, and the microphone users should be able to live with smaller, more agile allocations.

By giving interviews over the weekend expressing excitement over the coming action, Genachowski seemed to signal that approval is a given. I'm still concerned about whether power limits on the new frequency will allow the system to achieve its promise, but let's assume for a moment they will.

This might explain Google's silence in the face of carrier efforts to destroy Android on the launch pad, by filling so-called Android phones with so much crapware that users turn away from it.

Remember that Android is not Google's only entry into the emerging mobile space. There is also the Chromium OS, expected to become the heart of Google-based tablets within a year.

Tablets don't need carrier contracts. The iPad is available without a carrier contract. The idea is that the iPad has more client power and storage, that downloads would often be too large to be practical on 3G networks. You might go online with an iPhone in your car, but the iPad isn't a phone. Best wait until you get to the coffee shop.

So what Google may have is a way, with its tablet, to bypass the phone networks:

  1. Google is still cooperating with Clearwire, the troubled 4G WiMax network.
  2. Google still has a lot of dark fiber it was, at last report, offering to cities willing to build-out super-fast broadband.
  3. Google has found the cost of fiber to the home prohibitive -- at least $3,000 per home passed.
  4. The new frequencies let WiFi find competitive broadband more efficiently.

Google wants to use its fiber assets, but the cost of doing so in a wired network seems prohibitive. Even the cost of building out a new wireless network seems prohibitive.

The new Super WiFi frequencies, however, would enable many WiFi systems to easily reach Google fiber connections, assuring that backhaul remains super-cheap. All those shipping containers going to carrier offices with Google in a box could connect to wireless customers through a Super WiFi antenna system.

In other words, with Super WiFi Google would not need to build out its own network in order to see consumers offered extensive, high-speed WiFi services. They could reach its points of presence and the network would build itself. Thus Chromium tablets could come out without carrier contracts.

Since the promise of Super WiFi won't start to become real until next year -- manufacturers must make gear meeting whatever specifications the FCC sets -- Google need not hurry.

Let the phone companies ruin Android. They're just hurting their own images. Something better is going to come along, and soon.

Topics: Government US, Google, Government, Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

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  • SO MUCH Crapware - em Bing vs Google?

    The link seems just a bit overstated. So a carrier chose one corporation over another. Why is that crapware? And that was the only thing mentioned. Net 0 - just a replacement. And it didn't mention that anyone was turning from it, that was just assumed it appears.
    • RE: Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem

      @DevGuy_z ... Did you read the article?

      <i>"Unlike the iPhone, dominated by Apple solely, each operator can put in the Android an advertising application that cannot be removed, replace the search engine without the possibility of change, and even implement a competing application store."</i>

      One of the other raves I heard about Android was the idea the user wouldn't get bombarded by ads from Apple's new iAD program, well it seems the carrier can roll their own into the new phone, and lord knows what kind of crap ads will get sent through those systems.
      • RE: Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem

        @JM1981 I think you answered the question put by DevGuy_z
      • Um, not quite.

        @JM1981 - Anything the carriers put on a phone CAN be removed. It's all a matter of whether or not you want to do it. Most people i know who buy computers in a box get a load of crapware with them. Usually they never bother to remove any of it. Either they don't know how or are not interested in the time it may take them.
        Android is no different. You CAN remove that stuff if you want. There are a lot of resources available to teach people how. It's just a matter of caring to do it.
        And last I checked all the crapware hasn't really been an issue. It's on my phone but I could care less because I can still do all the stuff I want to do with little or no interference.
        This whole argument is just what ZDNet writers like to talk about when they are standing around the water cooler.
      • RE: Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem


        "Most people i know who buy computers in a box get a load of crapware with them."

        Most people i know are irritated by crapware on the PC's but are even more irritated by crapware that can't be removed on their phones without rooting (and breaking the TOS/Warranty). Crapware that's not easily uninstalled only sets a bad precedence for the future of Android. Can't believe fans are actually making excuses for carriers to take advantage of users like this.
  • So who has the walled Garden now ABAers?

    <i>"Allegedly, it stands in total contradiction to the openness and freedom that are the bread and butter of Android. But it is becoming apparent, that it is not about freedom from users, but the operator?s freedom to do as they wish with the devices they market. Unlike the iPhone, dominated by Apple solely, each operator can put in the Android an advertising application that cannot be removed, replace the search engine without the possibility of change, and even implement a competing application store."</i> From the Crapware link provided by Dana

    Sooner or later the facts always reveal themselves that Android isn't really any better than iOS, in terms of giving more options to the end user. If the User wants to do more customizing beyond what the carrier chooses, the user is <b>Forced</b> to root their phone, likely voiding any warranty that the carrier provides for the phone. After all not having to jailbrake a Android phone was what all the rave was about.
    • An your point is?


      This is not about iOS vs Android. This is about corporations trying to control and fleece their customers, be it Apple, MS, the carriers or Google if given a chance.

      If the consumers do not have choices and freedoms in the market place, progress will slow down and prices remain high. Apple does not like the consumers to have much freedom, nor do the carriers. Google probably likes consumer freedoms in as much as it allows them to operate more freely because they are less hampered by other powerful corporate interests. They can deal directly with the consumers. That suits their business.

      I would love the opportunity to stick it too (bypass) the carriers. It would force them to give us what we want in order to keep us as customers, rather than them setting the rules by being the only game in town.
      • My point is exactly what you just said.

        @Economister... that it doesn't matter the platform. I was merely pointing out to the Apple Haters that frequent here that their new prized platform has suffered a similar fate. Some of the arguments pressed are that if iPhone users want to go outside the Apple App store and do some other things, they need to hack the phone, and then they would point to Android as the liberator of that. Well now it seems that Android fate resides in the hands of the carrier, and if the user wants to free itself they have to hack the phone.

        Of course the benefit for Apple is that they will not suffer from carrier fragmentation, unlike Android which will be modified for each carrier and phone manufacturer, to the point to where apps from one carrier will not work on another Android device from another carrier.

        So ultimately the choice is to pick your poison. Choose iOS and know that your apps will probably work from device to device, and even carrier to carrier if Apple gets a CDMA carrier or two. Or Pick Android, and know that they are going to poison their own well.
      • No, your point was another...


        pathetic "mine is better than yours" fanboy post.
        You just confirmed that with your reply.
      • RE: Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem

        @Economister Wish there was a thumbs up on this thing. I agree with you 100%
      • UM no.

        @Economister... I never said that one was better over the other.

        Personally I own a wide array of devices, hardly a fanboi of any one of them. They all have those things they do well.

        You are simply putting words in someone's mouth that weren't there to begin with.
    • RE: Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem

      @JM1981 That is only on Verizon and AT&T. Don't blame that on android. ios is locked because of apple. Android is not locked by google. Only by Verizon and AT&T
  • This is not a google csrreir problem, its just a carrier problem

    This solves the carrier problem for everyone, not just google. Microsoft is very anxious to see this come. It is after all why Microsoft invented White-Fi or Super WiFi or whatever you want to call it. They already have this deployed all over Remond...
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem

      @Johnny Vegas You bring up an important point, which is that in areas like this no company can do it alone. When political cooperation is necessary tech companies can and do work together.
  • Mesh Network

    One thing, think would help these devices greatly would be if they all act as a part of a mesh network. As long as each users data is encrypted properly each device can be designed to fully utilize its bandwidth at all times to forward data from any device in range of it to the nearest access point. Using intelligent tools so that when the user is using the network or the device is not connected to a power supply will keep them from causing problems for the user. This would allow much greater throughput and handle failures and weaknesses in the network coverage.
    • RE: Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem

      @alricsca That's a big part of what we're talking about here. Hospitals already run mesh. So do some office buildings and corporate campuses. You have broadband in the air wherever you are. Now this can be extended to larger areas.
  • Will Super-Wifi really solve the carrier problem?

    Forgive me for being cynical or jaded when it comes to "solutions" in business and communications. I have been around long enough to realize that such solutions depend on changing circumstances and a capitalistic society for end-results.

    That being said...

    Has anyone who tracks this problem with carriers been to Europe, or the UK lately, to see how access to wireless voice and data communications is implemented there?

    Another question.

    What if those organizations, corporations charge for access to the Super-Wifi networks they build that enable a mobile device to reach Google's or another org's Internet Broadband backbone?


    As a person travels into town, or between places in a town or local neighborhood,(from home to coffee shop, to client, to office, etc) they pass from one local Super-Wifi network to another. As they do so, each Super-Wifi network charges it's own toll for access.

    So then instead of one big carrier toll access to national and international communications networks, we will essentially have a bunch of smaller, more localized tolls. We will have to pay each one as you travel to and reach various destinations.

    This seems like it could be a bigger problem for individual users than it is a solution.
    • RE: Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem

      @daniel.pereznet There were many people who tried to charge for WiFi at first. There still are a few. But most (like Starbucks) recognized they were getting plenty of payment from people ordering coffee. I don't doubt there will be some who want to charge for these new networks, but they'll need authentication to make the charge, so you can do what you do now with encrypted networks and not join.
  • Still not good enough

    Anybody who thinks super WiFi will solve all our problems is nuts. It's more than just penetration power. It's also about the amount of spectrum available, and it just won't match the demand.<br><br>The number of users in an area goes up with the square of the longest distance from the antenna (think of the formula for the area of a circle). As cellphone users in urban areas know, that's a lot of users even just a mile or less from the tower. But the spectrum between TV channels is fixed, and it's not that wide. These "empty" areas between channels are about the same bandwidth as one TV channel, which after all was meant for wide area broadcasting -- not multiple two-way conversations. That means you really can't go much farther in urban areas now than you can with cellphone towers, even though the frequency is capable of going much further.<br><br>Releasing the super WiFi spectrum will provide an end-user bandwidth increase only a small multiple (or less) of what you get with cellphone coverage today. In cities it will be easily swamped by demand. That's why the FCC still wants TV broadcasters to give up even more of their channels (the DTV conversion freed up 18 channels, the FCC wants to free up another 20 channels). Even so, without some major technology quantum leap, there will never be enough end-user bandwidth to replace fiber to the home.<br><br>There is an excellent discussion of all this on the May 8, 2010 episode of C-SPAN's "The Communicators". Two members of the Commerce Department's Spectrum Advisory Committee (which advises the FCC on spectrum) give a good background and discuss all the major issues, including super WiFi and TV channel (re)allocation (starting about 20 minutes in). It can be viewed at <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a></a></a> . One of these committee members makes the point that historically 95% of end-user bandwidth increase was provided by reuse of the same frequencies via cell towers over smaller and smaller areas. Super WiFi will have to do something similar, and will be subject to exactly the same end-user bitrate restrictions cellphones are now.
    • RE: Super WiFi solves the Google carrier problem

      You are correct that the FCC wants the TV broadcasters to give up even more of their channels. There is a push to put an end to OTA broadcasts altogether and force people into paying for cable or satellite. I am against this. I still have a tower and I know that if things get tight, I can always dump the cable and still have some TV. It's just greed on the part of the cable/satellite companies. They want you to pay and I am sure it is their lobbyists in the background pushing for this.

      Do we really want to exclude low income people from having any TV at all?