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The Future of Wireless through the Eyes of Our Kids

I am sitting on the deck watching the waves of the Pacific Ocean and my kids starting to stir to life thinking of writing about the technical pros and cons of WiMax vs. WiFi. And I realize that as I watch my kids and their friends play with their IPODs and WiFi enabled portable play stations that they barely know what I do for a living let alone care that WiMax is a wireless protocol targeted for the licensed bands and an alternative to 3G wireless technologies and that WiFi is the protocol of choice for the unlicensed bands. What they care about are their friends, their music and connecting with them.In watching our kids, I believe we can get a glimpse of the future and what the next generation of wireless and mobility will look like. My kids spend hours IMing with their friends and downloading music onto their IPOds and I am sure are representative of kids around the world. You see them connecting with their friends in new and different ways: Instant messaging, internet, local ad hoc wireless networking and text messaging. You also see them spending hours connecting with other devices, exchanging photos and downloading music into their IPODs and games into their PSPs. In watching how they interact with their friends and music, I am noticing that the access provider and the service provider are separating. In the old days (read that as I am over 40) your phone company provided you access and phone service, your cable company provided you access and TV shows and your mobile operator provided you access and cellular phone service. If our kids are any indication of the future, the service provider of the future is going to be the likes of Google, Yahoo, MicroSoft and your favorite gaming site and the access providers of today are looking to converge to becoming providers of IP access across multiple physical mediums such as cellular, WiFi, cable and fixed line. And watching the Gigabytes of music and photos being exchanged, the wireless network of the future will have 10 times the capacity of today’s networks and be able to deliver a wireless data bit for 1/10 the cost. So while the future is always hard to predict our kids maybe the best crystal ball we have to it.

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