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Bring on the BER

What the heck is a BER? A long time ago I was in a group interview for a candidate ASIC engineer. Generally these are *really* interesting interviews since there is often logic questions asked, design questions, plus normal interview questions. The candidate was an absolute powerhouse -- he nailed every question without breaking a sweat. Out of the blue a guy that I worked with asked a question about how do you compensate for photons affecting bits as they go through the ASIC. Read More »

Snap, Crack & Drop (or Look at Me, I Can Be Centerfield)

In New York this week on vacation. Matt’s column on BER reminded me of an earlier period in my career, about 15 years ago when I was working on a project for NYNEX Cellular. We developed a competitive cell site financial model to justify a huge NY City-wide build of micro-cells to improve coverage and roaming capabillities in Manhattan. Prior to the build-out plan that was aggressively matched by then McCaw Cellular (which got acquired by ATT, which got acquired by SBC, which got folded into Cingular), the average cellular experience for a Gotham City denizen was snap, crackle and drop. Read More »

Songs about WIFI (at least in my head)

One of the things that I love about being product manager is when I think about my product, and then adapt it to the world around me. On a recent trip to Canada I had a planetary alignment situation where I was changing every song that I heard to be about WIFI. Following are some bad examples of some of the songs. Note that there is a slight slant to Canada. You can also probably figure out that I was a teenager in the 80s. Read More »

The ROI for outdoor WiFi access

Wireless cellular networks have been driven by large capital expenditures on infrastructure and then clients are subsidized to get users on to the network with a well known return on investment (ROI). The emergence of WiFi technology has shifted this paradigm just that we now have a wave of unsubsidized unlicensed WiFi clients driving the demand for infrastructure with an unclear ROI. When we founded Airespace, the ROI for wireless networking in the enterprise was not clear either cut but the waves of clients from the consumer space were demanding the same mobility they had found so convenient in their homes to be in their work space, forcing enterprise IT managers to effectively become wireless ISPs. Once established in the work space, the productivity of wireless mobility became clear and measurable. As we watch WiFi technology emerge from the laptop in to other platforms such as cell phones, PDAs and your kid’s portable play stations we will see this growing wave of WiFi clients demanding WiFi access in the outdoor space. And while people are searching for the return on investment (ROI) and business model to justify these outdoor WiFi mesh networks, we will see the same productivity increases that wireless mobility brought to the indoor enterprise space in combination with the increasing wave of WiFi clients across new platforms make outdoor WiFi access an increasing a more common place and the ROI more obvious.

Big Footsteps

Everyone is celebrating a birthday or anniversary, (present company excluded of course, we get wiser not older). Apple just turned 30 and recently Network World did a spread in celebration of the launch of their magazine 20 years ago. One of the more interesting pieces in that edition was a reader survey on their perspective of the industry, both past present and future. Predictably the PC and the Internet were ranked as the most important innovation of the last 20 years. Looking forward, however, readers identified wireless broadband as the next big technology for the next 20 years. Wow! As big as the PC? The Internet? Those are big footsteps to follow. I am bullish, are you?