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The ROI for outdoor WiFi access

- April 17, 2006 - 1 Comment

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.

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  1. For ROI to become clear we still need to overcome business and technical challenges. Some of the advanced deployments are in Asia/Japan, and I was little surprised to see that Japan represents only ~ 4% of Cisco's revenue - BTW, which also means strong growth potential.