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Ken Biba


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Ken Biba is Co-founder and CTO of Novarum. He spoke on Session 3: What We Can Learn from Muni Networks at the Freedom to Connect 2009 conference.

If you'd like more info about the conference, see

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Ken Biba

  1. 1. <ul><li>Municipal Wireless 2.0 </li></ul><ul><li>The King is Dead, Long Live the King! </li></ul><ul><li>Ken Biba </li></ul><ul><li>March 30, 2009 </li></ul>
  2. 2. Novarum Wireless Broadband Review <ul><li>We went out and measured reality rather than hyped fantasy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We tested most of the major city wide wireless networks and compared them to cellular data networks and WiMAX. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7 WiMax networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>45 WiFi networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>95 Cellular networks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Analyzed the performance of Metro Wi-Fi, Cellular and WiMAX </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Testing from user perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance validation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coverage validation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business model insight </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Independent validation of wireless broadband services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Service availability, performance, value, ease of use </li></ul></ul>Copyright Novarum 2009
  3. 3. Muni Wireless 1.0 is Over <ul><li>Thank Goodness! </li></ul><ul><li>Municipal wireless and Wi-Fi mesh hype was getting out of hand </li></ul>Copyright Novarum Lots of failures… end of 1.0 Technology and Business Models now proven
  4. 4. What went wrong with 1.0? <ul><li>The impracticality of a free lunch </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Impossible expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Few concrete applications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor contracts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Requirements not clear and not measurable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free is not a sustainable business model </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The perils of technology hype </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fantasy business models met overhyped products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mostly poor networks with 2x underinvestment in infrastructure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor understanding of effects of scale </li></ul></ul>Copyright Novarum
  5. 5. What went right with 1.0? <ul><li>Commitment works </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business critical connectivity applications work well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Public safety, parking meters, internal municipal communications </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Foundation for innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Citizen Internet access </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Technology works when hype stripped </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wireless superb extension to wire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best 2008 WiFi networks outperform hyped 2010 WiMax networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>And 802.11n will make 2010 WiFi networks even better </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WiFi with 802.11n has perhaps 5:1 capital cost advantage over WiMax (2009) </li></ul></ul>Copyright Novarum
  6. 6. Some Data Copyright Novarum 2009 <ul><li>Cellular data has doubled performance to last two years </li></ul><ul><ul><li>About same performance as common DSL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>500 kbps up, 1000-1500 kbps down </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2009 Mobile WiMax appears to be about 1-2x current 3G performance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>< 400 kbps down, 1500-2000 kbps down </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best deployed 2008 muni WiFi is 2-3x cellular and WiMax </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2000 kbps up and 3000 kbps down </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minneapolis, Toronto, others </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>802.11n will drive 2010 capacity up 2-4x and cost 2x down </li></ul><ul><ul><li>10 Mbps+ performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$100k/mi 2 for WiFi vs $500K/mi 2 for WiMax </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Foundation for Wireless 2.0 <ul><li>Investment, not Freedom from cost </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No one cares about things we get for free </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anchor must be essential, committed municipal services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Caution in navigating technology hype </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wireless is an EXTENSION of wire and depends on an extensive wired infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WiFi 1.0 overhyped, underdelivered and now ready to be superlative (802.11n!!!!!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WiMax overhyped and soon to underdeliver in turn </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Superlative networks CAN be built and operated </li></ul><ul><li>Trust but Verify </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Demand performance audit </li></ul></ul>Copyright Novarum
  8. 8. Coming Attractions <ul><li>Novarum Independent 3G/4G Cellular Test </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NO ONE has ever published anything as complete </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>13 US Cities, 300 locations, over 5000 tests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exhaustive user perspective testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major US cellular and WiMax providers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coming soon </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Novarum 802.11n Enterprise Testing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enterprise access points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enterprise scale testing (multiple APs, many clients, many applications) </li></ul></ul>Copyright Novarum