Belkin 54g validating identity
If this were easy, my 2007 predictions would've held true. Wi-Fi wasn't easy in the early days, when I spent a couple hundred bucks for an access point and another hundred bucks for an 802.11b card, only to learn that 0 bought me a solution dramatically less reliable and much slower than the 100-foot Ethernet cable I'd kept coiled under the desk. Well, kind of, depending on what you want out of your Wi-Fi.
3G radios are still too expensive compared to Wi-Fi, plus 3G requires a service provider.
Wi-Fi is cheap and cheerful, providing the best bang for the buck in terms of bitrate, size, power consumption, and cost.
The portability of a laptop without built-in wireless networking provides limited upside in most consumers' homes. Even in rooms other than the living room or main television viewing room, it's doubtful that a TV is moved more than once a year, tops. What about situations where the connection coming into the house (from the cable, satellite, or IPTV provider) is on the other side of the room from where you want to place the TV. But there's one more issue, which takes me to huge stumbling block number two. At CES 2007, vendors were quoting prices on products in the $500-$1000 range for a pair of wireless high-def devices (transmitter and receiver).
With Wi-Fi built in, consumers are freed from the tether a desktop PC requires, providing considerably more flexibility in just about every aspect of computing. At the time, that really wasn't a huge delta from a high-quality 5-10 meter HDMI cable, which would've run you $200-$300 or more, if you could even find one.
For the purposes of this post, we'll refer to the concept as "wireless high-def" so as not to infringe upon or provide undue props to any particular company, organization, or alliance.
To further clarify, we're talking about delivering high-def consumer content from a source to a sink, such as a digital set-top box to a flat panel TV; we're not talking about shipping video around a newsroom, delivering video over the Internet, or doing live remotes. Five score and three weeks ago, we thought we had it nailed at my former company, Tzero Technologies.
Plus, not only is Wi-Fi easy, it's becoming more and more ubiquitous.
I wouldn't say we've reached the era of Wi-Fi as utility; however, as consumers purchase more connected devices, Wi-Fi has become the lowest common denominator for high-speed connectivity.
I would love to be wrong about this, but I don't think I will be.
I'll be meeting with most of the players in wireless high-def next week at CES.
But, just as Rome wasn't built in a day, neither was Wi-Fi.