(Fourth in a series)
Wireless access in general, and Wi-Fi technology in particular, has been very attractive to municipalities wanting to improve broadband communications for multiple reasons. One of the most obvious is the fact that laptops and PCs now come routinely equipped with Wi-Fi access, and the access network equipment is also widely available and reasonably priced.
But as more cities discover Wi-Fi’s limitations, they are also looking at other wireless options, namely WiMAX, the more robust wireless technology that is just now coming to market. Grand Rapids, Mich., is one of the first cities to move in this direction, partnering with Clearwire, which holds wireless spectrum in various places around the country and has been rolling out broadband wireless using pre-WiMAX technology.
Karl Edwards, president of Excelsio Communications, was a consultant to Grand Rapids on the project, and says the choice is based on looking carefully at the business case and at what the city actually wanted from its network. This is a particularly crucial decision for smaller cities or less densely populated areas, where the cost of putting in a Wi-Fi infrastructure is higher.
(Lead for this story from Google Alerts.)