When It Comes to Wi-fi, You Ain't Surfed Nothing Yet

An article in Fortune magazine is predicting that even most WiFi believers are being way too conservative in predicting what WiFi will be able to do. The writer takes the current technology and extrapolates outward, assuming that it will increase in both range and speed in a fairly rapid manner. He also assumes that the pervasive, fast, wireless technology will lead people to create new applications that demand such bandwidth, and people will find new, and completely unexpected uses for the technology. I agree with the second part – that applications will make use of the bandwidth and it will happen in ways many people aren’t expecting, but some of the other stuff is a bit overhyped. I think there’s plenty of potential for WiFi, but there are more issues than just technology to take into account – including politics, competing technologies, and human nature. Trying to predict all of these factors is close to impossible. So, while I do believe that we will see ubiquitous high speed wireless internet, I wouldn’t commit to a specific technology at this point (or even assume that it will be a single technology), nor would I agree to a specific timeline for when this will happen.

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