Stories by Craig J. Mathias

Predicting Wi-Fi performance: Can it be done?

Whenever I plan and configure an enterprise WLAN system, I always advise that an additional 10 to 20 percent of the capital budget be reserved for expansion and filling in holes in coverage or capacity that couldn't be anticipated during the planning process.

No end in sight for WLAN architecture wars

You'd have thought that, by now, we would have settled the WLAN architecture wars. You'd think one architecture or another would have been declared the winner and that we'd all be buying basically the same product from a small number of vendors -- just as is the case with Ethernet switches.

Bluetooth steps in for US government security

Bluetooth has been a big success in the mobile world, but primarily for just one application: wireless headsets. These are extremely popular and with good reason: You can't beat the convenience, and they are have become quite inexpensive.

Apple needs to offer removable batteries

Apple's penchant for producing products with batteries that are not swappable by users brings up a really interesting point - should consumers blindly accept such a strategy?

Goodbye, notebook; hello 'Web tablet'

The notebook computer is doomed. OK, that's a little strong. And as one of the people who worked on the first laptop PC, the GRiD Systems Compass Computer Model 1101, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for mobile PCs. But as we move into the era of infocentricity, defined by Web 2.0 network services, the "everyone gets a CPU" model needs to be replaced by "everyone has access to an interface to the Web."

The Flaw in Femtocells

I recently ran into Paul Callahan at Interop New York. I've known Paul for a long time; he was one of the founders of AutoCell Labs, who developed a technology for automatically configuring and optimizing Wi-Fi that I consider to be sheer genius. It really works, but it so far has not caught on; something about added cost, non-standard elements, and other mostly-valid but completely short-sighted considerations. Anyway, Paul is now VP of Business Development at Airvana, a company best known for EV-DO base stations but which really has a much broader view of the wireless world. Paul is a huge fan of femtocells, and said some fairly negative things about public-access Wi-Fi. I still think the latter is going to be a major success, and Paul didn't change my mind. But he did invite me to visit Airvana to see what they're doing in femtocells, and I was quick to take him up on the offer.

Are we asking too much of mobility?

I hate to admit this, but I've been having nothing but problems with my wireless strategy of late. My goal is to be 100 percent location-independent, to be able to do anything anywhere, with whatever tools are available -- ideally, just a handheld with a browser.

More on Yahoo - But Not Too Much More

To cut to the chase, my misadventures with Yahoo have progressed to the point where I am dropping them as a supplier. The unbelievably stupid problem returned, and that's that. While before I said I was simply too angry to even discuss this problem, it's time.

Google Buying Sprint?

I avoid spreading rumors, but once they appear in the mass media, they're fair game. And such it is with the rumor that Google will buy Sprint. I've heard this (only as a rumor, mind you) from a number of reliable sources over the past few months, and, I had a hard time with this one. Why would the world's leading portal company with a terrific advertising model want to own a carrier? Note that Sprint is both wired and wireless and, while they've got issues at present, they are hardly non-viable. A little sprucing up, spinning off, and a few rolling heads should do the trick. The brand is solid. But does vertical integration make sense for Google?

There's trouble in WiMax land

I'm always surprised when the twists and turns of properly-functioning markets result in over-reactions from all corners. One case in point is the recent behavior of the now-global stock markets, which go up and down so rapidly as to give even long-term investors at least a mild case of heartburn.