[CUWiN] Slate on community wireless networks

Illustrious niteshad niteshad at linuxmail.org
Tue Sep 14 16:45:46 CDT 2004

> On Tue, 14 Sep 2004, Paul Smith wrote:
> > http://slate.msn.com/id/2106657/
> >
> > I'm composing a response to Paul emphasizing emerging spectrum 
> > management methods that mitigate interference.
> This is a pretty shoddy piece of work.  I wonder how much of it was 
> written in consultation with Ron Resnick of the WiMax Forum and where 
> they're getting their information on Wi-Fi capabilities (since they are 
> clearly incorrect -- CUWiN has multiple links that are way over 300 feet 
> and can make solid links through trees of several hundred meters before 
> things become marginal).  I do agree that city-wide WiFi systems won't be 
> "free", but they'll be "free to the end-users" if they're municipally 
> supported (thus helping to eliminate the digital divide and allowing _all_ 
> users to get online, not just the priviledged few who can afford it).

First, we must define "municipally supported."  To my mind, municipal has a much more organized connotation associated with it than does "community."  "Municipal" implies that the city government will be involved, as is the case in Philiadelphia.  If the city is absorbing the cost of building and supporting the network, as well as the cost of providing bandwidth to the Internet from the network, then it is decidedly _not_ free; the citizens are paying for this service through the various municipal taxes they pay.  In my experience, a concerned group of citizens is capable of acting far more quickly and efficiently than the government ever could.  Therefore, I very much favor the community co-op model in terms of paying the costs associated with the network, since I believe that this will lead to a lower total cost to the end-users of the network.  That said, I also have no problem with subsidizing the service for those who can't otherwise afford it.  

Paul Boutin's article oozes FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt), which shouldn't surprise any of us, since it was published on MSN Slanted...I mean, Slate ;)  What surprised and shocked me was that they are talking about power outputs (from sector or omnidirectional antennas) of 30 Watts for the licensed users.  In the physics lab, I've personally (accidentally) had my head in the side-band of a 10 Watt microwave beam (can't recall if it was 2.4 GHz  or 10 GHz); a very brief exposure gave me a splitting headache that lasted all afternoon.  This shouldn't be surprising, since my brain was basically being cooked.  The microwave spectrum, long-wards of 2 GHz is semi-permeable; if the signal is powerful enough to permeate a wall, it's powerful enough to permeate a person.  Some of that radiation will be absorbed by the person, and the effects of long-term, low doses of radiation are poorly understood at this time.  I don't know much about WiMax, but I'm wondering if all of the proper
  health physics studies have been done regarding its deployment.

best regards,

Mark Lenigan
Director of Research and Development
Detroit Wireless Project

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