Friday, May 23, 2008

More Wi-Fi/Wi-Max from the South Pacific....

64° - cloudy at 1:45pm

Welcome to Friday - the start of a long weekend and the unofficial start to summer. More here later...but something I've been finding time to pass along:

Yesterday I caught Kurt Hanson's blog where he (courtesy of Madison's Tom Teuber) wrote a bit more about a topic I mentioned here Wednesday Night: the future of Wi-Fi as Wi-Max.

Kurt devotes a post to Hawaii radio guru Brock Whaley's test drive of Clearwire's "pre Wi-Max" technology. Its not all Wi-Max might be, but its a "a wireless broadband distribution service that covers miles instead of feet" - and is just like regular internet service.

After getting the Clearwire hardware and plugging his laptop into a power inverter, Brock cruised around the Island - and now with apologies to Kurt Hanson for over-quoting - Brock writes:

"I started the car, and turned everything on, and by God it works! Clumsy and experimental, but it works. The Clearwire signal indicator showed an excellent signal, even through the windshield. I brought up the stream of WDRV in Chicago, and there it was. Loud and clear in stereo. I drove into Kailua town. No drop out! Even as the direction of car changed. Signal strength varied in some directions as I drove, but I never lost the stream."

"I lost the signal driving to Honolulu, but the signal lasted farther than the Clearwire coverage map indicated. The same went as I approached Honolulu. I pulled off the road at a scenic lookout and reestablished an internet connection on the laptop. This time to all-news KNX in Los Angeles. I took King Street from the Pali all the way to Kaimuki, and I only lost the signal and had to reconnect once. I pulled over and tried the BBC with the even better results. No dropout all the way to Kahala Mall. I’m talking miles here, on city streets, and I’m listening to freaking London, in stereo, with no noise, no static, no dropouts, in my cheap Ford in Hawaii!"

"I cannot underestimate how excited I was and still am. This is incredible. It does work, and it will soon be the norm."

Wow. I can understand Brock's excitement when he declares: "I have heard the future in my car." Kurt's entire post - describing Brock Whaley's setup and experience further is here.

The concept of speaking into a microphone or playing music and having it go through the airwaves still excites me as much as it did when I was 11 years old - and built "WDK" in the bedroom of my childhood home from a Lafayette Radio tube transmitter kit.

I got the same rush again a few months back (here) - when I was streaming music from a computer in my basement - and a friend in Phoenix was listening on his PC. Once a radio geek, always... The future is going to be one wild ride.

More later.

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