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The holy grail of wireless networking. The technology that all companies with a stake in wireless networking are hoping and praying for (Lucent, Cisco, and Nortel, to name a few). Residential broadband is a scheme where wireless access points are placed on towers (or existing utility poles) in residential areas and subscribers' broadband (11 Mbps) internet connections are beamed wirelessly into their homes. No wires, no cables, no fibers.

ISPs love the idea because all they have to do place and wire the access points. Hardware developers love the idea because it will instantly transform their products from a sideshow novelty into a massively demanded product and transform profits from a few tens of millions a year to billions a year. Consumers like the idea because there are no wires, cables, or other blunt objects rammed into their homes and because they can now walk around the neighborhood with their laptops talking with their friends on instant messenger. Pocket PC owners will also be able to get an 11 Mbps connection from just about anywhere.

The major obstacles to this plan are:

  • Bandwidth allocation - The bandwidth currently allocated by the FCC is not enough to support such a system.
  • Reliablity - While very nifty and whiz-bang, wireless networking is still not as reliable as a blunt object connection.
  • Power output limitations - The FCC currently places harsh limits on the allowable power output of unlicenced radio frequency devices.
  • The Adoption Problem - No one wants to be the first person to try this, and until many people use it, it will be very expensive. However, television, cell phones, and even the internet have all overcome this problem.
  • Look for this service in a neighborhood near you very soon.

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