Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Having spent a week in Germany hearing about the need for speed and ubiquitous connectivity via LTE, I was intrigued by the headline “Will your mobile phone become a Wi-Fi hotspot?”

Several presentations during the LTE Conference focused on potentially billions of Internet connected devices (GSMA prediction was 50 billion), presumably enabled by low-cost, high speed mobile (LTE) access. The question, or problem, with this scenario is a natural need to separate a subscription from access. I might want my refrigerator on the Internet, but I don’t want to put a SIM in it or have it tied to my mobile service provider.

This is the beauty of Wi-Fi. I pay for a subscription, in the form of DSL service (and presumable LTE in the future), and any device with Wi-Fi/IP connectivity can use it.

Skip ahead to Mi-Fi, a new technology concept pioneered by chip-maker Atheros. The idea is that your mobile phone uses mobile data service (HSPA, LTE) on the WAN, and the Wi-Fi radio on the phone can set up a localized HotSpot. Now Wi-Fi enabled devices within proximity of your phone can get access to the Internet via the mobile broadband subscription.

Very clever.

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