cyberspacial musings
bits about the real and virtual worlds

15 Mar

History Repeats Itself In The Wireless Arena

This article from Business 2.0, The Island of the Wireless Guerrillas describes a wireless broadband initiative now going on in Hawaii. Essentially, Bill Wiecking is bringing wireless access to areas in Hawaii that have DSL or other broadband connections. He’s doing it by taking standard 802.11b (Wi-Fi) access points and adding amplifiers, antennae, and other equipment to extend the normal range of 802.11b from 300 feet to 26 miles.

This “back to the future” concept was actually the basis for one of the most well known technologies today — Ethernet. The inspiration for Ethernet – CSMA/CD networking – originated in Hawaii with the ALOHAnet, a wireless network that was connected to the ARPAnet in the early 70s. ALOHAnet implemented CSMA/CD — carrier sense, multiple access, collision detect — to deal with the problems of radios transmitting packets at the same time. Bob Metcalfe based his Ph.D. work on improving ALOHAnet, which led him to develop Ethernet [click here for info about Bob]. Norm Abramson was the engineering professor at the University of Hawaii that developed ALOHAnet [click here for info about Norm].

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