Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Samuel Rose on WiMax and Wireless Quilts

On SmartMobs, Samuel Rose has a really good post on "internet saturated environments."

From the post:

"True, there is a lot of hype around WiMAX. Yet, there is a definite arc in progression of technological evolution in Wireless networking that appears to be taking us from WiFi WLANs (IEEE 802.11x) , to emerging MAN (Metropolitan Area Networks WiMAX IEEE 802.16)s, to a worldwide "GAN" (Global Area Network IEEE 802.20). The nature of ubiquitous wireless broadband networks (like WiMAX technology) may help defeat the digital access feudalism proposed by the telcos.

Back in 2002, in chapter six of Rheingold's Smartmobs, he explored an idea in networking that he called "Wireless Quilts: Ad hoc, self-organized networks of grassroots users of inexpensive, high speed, wireless Internet communications". Many of these ad hoc mesh network concepts are being worked into WiMAX. For instance, WiMAX has the potential to be used as a "backhaul" for existing WiFi "hotspots". WiMAX also has the "capability by enabling WiMAX nodes to simultaneously operate in "subscriber station" and "base station" mode." Meanwhile, the cost of WiMAX technology is decreasing over time.

Once internet is available virtually everywhere, we'll see a increase in "sentient things", in "Always on Panopticons" and "Cooperation Amplifiers", and an increase in knowledge commons and cooperation, and increases in the detrimental sides of internet usage. As we move in the direction of internet-saturated environments, we'll need to increase media and cooperation literacies, and think about ways to use these tools to help solve human problems of existence in ways that are accessible to all."



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