EyeForWireless: WiFi Alliance Technical Leader Speaks

Next up on the conference agenda was a speech from Sarosh Vesuna, Sr. Director of Strategic Alliances at Symbol systems, and Chair of the Technical Committee for the WiFi Alliance.

Sarosh delivered an interesting speech, largely because of his WiFi insider honesty on where WiFi has problems. He used this as a platform to discuss some of the areas in which the WiFi Alliance is now focusing in order to improve the user experience. A focus for the alliance is to improve the interoperability and customer experience of WiFi kit. Sarosh asks, “How are regular customers supposed to cope when certified gear is not interoperable out of the box because one has WEP on, and the other doesn’t, or one uses Hex keys while the other uses ASCII.” He’s right, these are real problems that we cannot expect mass consumers to solve without a lot of very costly calls to customer support. The industry Alliance should drive towards standard configurations for easier “out of the box” interop.

Sarosh also repeated some things we have mentioned here before on Techdirt, specifically that telcos were leery of WiFi because they are used to providing five nines of reliability on dialtone, and are cautious about offering a service in a less reliable manner. Yet, how can they offer the carrier-grade Hotspots in a reasonable economic model? The costs of carrier-grade Hotspots preclude free WiFi, yet Sarosh agrees with Techdirt’s Mike that WiFi prices need to approach 0 to get mass adoption.

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