Is Wi

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2004-10-25 Print this article Print

-Fi a Threat?"> But Seybold said he doesnt believe that Wi-Fi threatens to destroy 3G wireless technology because they are supported by two different industries and will develop in tandem. Growth of 3G "is being driven by the wireless industry, while Wi-Fi is driven by the computer industry," and they will address different markets, he said. Cellular carriers are interested in Wi-Fi because it promises to take the peak usage pressure off of their networks in confined areas such as airline terminals, Seybold said. Verizon Wireless has stated that it can afford to build out its 3G capacity to handle the 30-minute network-usage spikes that are typical at airline gates, he said, adding that Wi-Fi will readily handle these spikes.
WLAN (wireless LAN) technology is also unlikely to be a serious threat to 3G, Seybold said. Mobile professionals will use WLAN technology at home and in offices, airports and hotels because they provide convenient access. But few will pay for the convenience of accessing the service in public spaces, he said.
The average consumer is unlikely to use or pay for WLAN hot-spot service because they will usually access the network through 3G mobile handsets, Seybold said. Meanwhile, customer service, delivery and fleet management workers wont use WLAN services because they need the broad geographical coverage provided by 3G technology, Seybold said. In the meantime, 802.11x Wi-Fi service will continue to develop steadily for a wide range of markets and applications, according to Seybold. While 802.11b is the leading wireless LAN technology, 802.11a will steadily develop as the enterprise and home entertainment leader. Is WiMax too good to be true? Click here for a column. "The computer industry will push 802.11a as the link between computer audio, video and home entertainment systems," such as televisions and stereos, Seybold said. Enterprises will adopt it because they are always hungry for additional bandwidth, he said. The future leader for the home market will be 802.11g for its capacity to support media and entertainment applications. Wi-Fi will grow steadily, he said, because in a year or two nearly all laptops will have built-in Wi-Fi and there will be many more hot spots offering free service. While WiMax is a promising technology, it is being over hyped and will be "ready for prime time later than it proponents think it will" because it will take additional time to perfect the technology and develop an economic model to support its deployment, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms Mobile & Wireless Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis.

Be sure to add our mobile and wireless news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page

John Pallatto John Pallatto is's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel