The true meaning of Super WiFi

The true meaning of Super WiFi

Summary: With Super WiFi our dreams for the Internet are becoming a reality. Ubiquitous broadband Internet coverage, available to any device, accessing the answer to any question, telling us the status of everything and everyone, all the time.

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The full implication of the FCC's "Super WiFi" proposal, which is scheduled for a vote Thursday, has yet to dawn on people.

It's broadband available wherever you are, in the air, yours for the price of an antenna.

We have gotten a taste of it in coffee shops, through the iPhone, and now the Android, linked to carrier 3G networks.

But it's only a taste.

That's because those solutions are either limited or proprietary, often both. You're either tethered to an invisible wire or dependent on one company for your service, and thus at their mercy.

You don't have a free choice of terms and conditions or prices of service. It is what the carrier, or Apple, or the coffee shop, says it is. You often don't have access to the same free market you find on the Internet, either. Carriers and Apple feel they have a right to define that for you, to auction you off as property to the highest bidder.

But Super WiFi can be different. It's defined only by equipment standards and will evolve as equipment evolves alongside what I call "Moore's Law of Radios." And it's a true Internet experience, or as open as the Internet itself is allowed to be.

Super WiFi provides an overlay on top of WiFi, long range connections that let you find the fastest possible backhaul from any point.  A 2.4 GHz WiFi radio is a microwave, while Super WiFi runs on old TV frequencies. It can go for miles, and travel through walls.

Most observers are seeing this in terms of clients-and-servers, of people behind screens accessing Web pages like this one.

But that's just the Internet of people.

Super WiFi enables a broader Internet of Things. Security systems can protect entire corporate campuses wirelessly. RFID chips can identify your spoiling yogurt or the keys you think you lost. Put a balloon in the air with a radio on it and watch the passing parade from your desk in another country.

Medical, automation, and inventory applications -- what I called the "World of Always On" starting in 2003 -- becomes more practical. With wider-range antennas connecting hotspots into networks, grandma can have a single chip, a ring or a necklace, that will tell you when Alzheimer's has her wandering. You can track your lost dog or your missing kid.

These are low bit-rate signals, and so is telephony. There can now be a common infrastructure to help everyone and everything phone home, untethered from the carriers.

There's a reason why William Gibson's Zero History, and his previous Spook Country, take place in the present. Having made his name on futuristic computer-based history, Gibson now finds himself in a world not unlike the one he imagined. He's become a reporter.

With Super WiFi our dreams for the Internet (and our nightmares as well) are becoming reality. Ubiquitous broadband Internet coverage, available to any device, accessing the answer to any question, telling us the status of everything and everyone, all the time.

Welcome to the future.

Topics: Broadband, Government, Government US, Mobility, Networking, Telcos, Wi-Fi

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27 comments
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  • be careful with that "slow" business

    with ssb or dsb (single side band or dual side band) there is no reason the signal has to be "slow".
    sparkle farkle
    • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

      @sparkle farkle Slow is relative to the speed of the slowest link in a chain. If you're in a crowded coffee shop using WiFi you may experience slow service. That's because many people are trying to use a single phone or cable backhaul.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • There's nothing special about super wifi that means it's going to be free

    The networks are still going to cost money to own/operate/maintain/upgrade. Yes it should be substantially cheaper due to smaller infrastructure requirements but we'll still be dealing with isps who will still be able to impose tos. And there will still be areas of spotty coverage, we never got away from that with broadcast tv.
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

      @Johnny Vegas Super WiFi allows costs to be minimized, and because it's based on equipment, not control of a frequency, price will be cost-based.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

    Isn't Super-WiFi called WiMax ?
    neilpost
    • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

      @neilpost I don't know much about this, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think since wimax is in the 2.5-3.5GHz frequency range, it has a much smaller range than 'super-wifi' which would be in the 300-800MHz frequency range used by analog TV until last year.
      Gritztastic
    • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

      @neilpost No, WiMax was designed as a microwave-based communication system, like WiFi, which in practice relies on dedicated frequencies controlled by Clearwire. It was never given the regulatory treatment of WiFi, and that's a clear difference.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

    wonderful, how bout some IPv6 to go with that now?
    thirtysix.irdsi
    • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

      @thirtysix.irdsi I think that can be accommodated. Over the next few years everything will have its own IP address.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

        @DanaBlankenhorn <br>IPv6 is being held hostage here in the U.S., it's criminal. The telcos are pathetic, wringing every last f***ing dime out of IPv4 while the U.S. falls futher and further behind. About 228 days till exhaustion. Epic Fail!
        thirtysix.irdsi
  • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

    Two digs at Apple in an apparently off-topic way. Was this a reference to Flash? What was your sober_journo angle when IEn didn't display PNGs for 10 years?
    kenift
  • And we'll all drive flying cars.

    Right?
    Gaius_Maximus
    • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

      @Gaius_Maximus You know, it's interesting. I don't see a mobile Internet on the Jetsons. People are still using brick-sized phones or devices that require the power of their flying cars.
      DanaBlankenhorn
    • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

      @Gaius_Maximus
      God I hope not, people can't drive in 2D I can imagine them attempting 3D..
      gkuchera
  • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

    It is nice to think of what we can get for nothing but the word nothing is code for let the government pay for it. If companies/corporations initiate this I am all for it. That way only the people who use it get to pay for it. The role of government is to protect the rest of us from paying for something we can't use. I have high hopes that this speaks for all of those people who have no connection to electronics use. Let the market, not government, demand payment from the users and our economy will rebound. I can think of no better way for "super wifi" to succeed.
    Gpa's
    • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

      @Gpa's The word "something for nothing" is not code for let the government pay for it. It is, in fact, far more capitalist than the state-sponsored monopoly the carriers offer us.

      Science teaches us that spectrum is not a set of parallel railroad tracks to be "owned" and made the exclusive control of one company through the instrument of government. It's an ocean.

      Treat it as an ocean and let innovation happen.
      DanaBlankenhorn
    • Oh boy, more teabagger ideology again

      And it was about due.
      ahh so
  • Well, this sure could....

    let the cat among the pigeons. This must be the carriers' worst nightmare. If they manage to stop it, the whole US economy will ultimately suffer, but that will of course not concern them.
    Economister
    • RE: The true meaning of Super WiFi

      @Economister What matters at the end of the day is American competitiveness. That's the job of US business, sure, but it's also our job. And we can do things which enhance that competitiveness, even if the big vendors don't like them.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • I agree, but

        @DanaBlankenhorn

        Washington concerns me. The politicians need campaign funds. We know of course that this does not in ANY way impact how they vote, but......

        Sorry, the old cynic in me is taking over again.
        Economister