Roger Williams
Radio Corner

Wireless Internet
Service Systems

It has been just a few short years since the development of the Internet system (which some insist was invented by a former high ranking administration official of a recent administration). The Internet has provided its users with the ability to access sources of information and to communicate at high speeds in ways never before considered. Instant communications between companies, organizations and individuals are now as commonplace through the use of the Internet as walking. The ability to transmit large files containing photos, research, legal research and almost every conceivable type of information has now come within our grasp.

However with the growth of the mass numbers of entrances to the Internet and the rapid growth of the numbers of computers in service for Internet access purposes, the resulting overcrowding was inevitable. All users have experienced delays in accessing the Internet, loss of log-on difficulties, loss of transmitted information, and a myriad of other annoying problems, occurring at the "wrong time"

A number of alternate systems have been developed offering higher speeds, direct movement of files (FTP) use of Cable TV equipment, and DSL (digital subscriber line) systems all of which have assisted in alleviating the overcrowding problems and adding to the expense of Internet access. It was inevitable that the use of broadband wireless communications systems would eventually be applied to Internet access.


With connection speeds up to 50 times faster than the traditional dial up access, wireless access allows all systems to move faster. Large photo files, graphics, accounting spreadsheets, law enforcement information, legal document information, and literally all file movement is faster than previously experienced. The excruciatingly long wait for a large download information upgrade file from Netscape, Adobe etc., need not be experienced again.

Wireless broadband systems are always connected to the Internet. The user need not log on or wait. Simply clicking on the appropriate Icon will enter the Internet or e-mail system of choice. Since no phone line is involved, the expense of a dedicated line or the blocking of an existing line ends and the phone may be used for conventional purposes, such as calling ones mother - in - law.

Using wireless access to the Internet provides the user with extreme flexibility. As more and more providers enter the supply side, the computer becomes a traveling communications station, providing Internet and communications access from almost anywhere in the world. For the journalist and photo journalist, this means complete freedom from the necessity of tying to existing hard line communications systems and columns, articles and photos can easily be sent at high speed to meet today's deadlines.

As we read, companies like Starbucks and others are beginning to provide specialized wireless Internet and 'e' mail hook-ups for the traveler who is not already on a wireless access system. The user can also obtain a 802.11b wireless card for access at hotels, airports, restaurants and other public places.

In addition wireless networks can be developed for businesses in a similar fashion to that used through phone lines.

Some hand held captured system devices have been developed which are in limited use such as OmniSky. These devices allow the user to access the Internet or 'e' mail from a variety of popular handhelds, however memory and capabilities are limited on hand held, palm sized units.


Because of the infancy of the wireless Internet access industry many users have spent considerable time and money obtaining a system only to find their new provider in bankruptcy because of poor planning, engineering and underfinancing. Any potential subscriber to a wireless Internet provider must ascertain the following.

1. Financial position of the provider.
2. User history
3. Cost comparisons between providers (it appears there is a wide variance in costs between providers at this time)
4. Engineering specifications of hardware and software
5. Cost of the hardware (also a wide variance between providers)
6. Ascertain security of the system being provided.

The systems are generally set up for notebook use and the users equipment must be reviewed prior to entering any agreement with a wireless service provider to make certain the users equipment meets the needs of the provider. Unit set up is quite simple. A small transmitting device is hooked to the computer through the sideband port and the transmitter sends the signal from the computer to a relay station in range in a similar manner to the way police and other radio relay systems operate.

Accessing the Internet the potential subscriber can review talk groups at to review comments from users. Bear in mind that as in all chat situations much of the information there must be taken lightly as the writers are NOT professionals in the field.

Next month, Radio Corner will review many of the suppliers in the present marketplace with user recommendations.

Radioman can be reached at to answer any inquires technical and otherwise about this or previous columns.

Roger Williams

Contributing Writer

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