Ricochet: Fast but Very Scarce

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2001-01-01 Print this article Print

Metricom's Ricochet is the first national, high-speed wireless network.

Metricoms Ricochet is the first national, high-speed wireless network. The facts that high-speed is a relative term and that coverage isnt completely national shouldnt bother anyone.

I work in one of nine Ricochet areas nationwide, and I appreciate having a wireless connection faster than the 14.4K bps that is the max for most cell phones. Inherent wireless network latencies prevent Ricochet from reaching true tethered ISDN speeds, but its pretty close.

Metricom has become a wireless provider to its partners rather than to consumers. This is good because Metricoms rechargeable, Windows- dialer modems are bulky, and the Ricochet service will soon run on PC Cards from the likes of Sierra Wireless. In addition, prices should drop. The service now costs between $65 and $99 a month—not a bad deal, assuming you can get it.

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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