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Will There Ever Come A Time When Your Primary ISP Is Mobile?


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I know one of the predictions we heard quite frequently was there would come a time in the not so distant future where your primary data connection (both for your mobile device and your laptop/home PC/etc.) would be over the air, and not from wired ISPs like phone companies and cable companies. But as we've seen, all mobile data plans (with the exception of Sprint's smartphone plans) are capped and either charge fairly steep overages (from Sprint's overage rate of 5 cents per MB to other carriers overage charges of $10/GB) or throttle connections after 2GB of data is used (as TMobile does, or as AT&T does to most "grandfathered" unlimited plan users).

Clearly, these mobile data plans could not possibly serve as a replacement for a wired, home ISP as virtually everyone uses far more data than 2-5GB per month which is the standard for most plans for connection cards/tethering and cost as much or more than most wired home plans do which are (for the most part) unlimited.

With all the talk about "spectrum crunch" and the need to manage mobile networks, will there ever be a day in the not too distant future where we'll see unlimited mobile data for not just mobile phones, but laptops/home PCs/Internet connected TVs/tablets/the works as a viable alternative to wired ISPs?

With all the doom and gloom being put out by many of the carriers it seems like that day may be far off indeed...

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I seem to remember that the big deal about wireless broadband was for the "last mile" problem. If you have wired broadband there really is no reason for it. It is an inferior technology. Now out in rural areas, it is a viable alternative to satellite. It is just too bad about the limit. But as long as it is not used for videos, 6 GB for 59.99 ain't bad considering the alternatives.

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Very true, especially if there are no alternatives at all (and in many rural areas, there are no wired alternatives).

Still, it would be nice to someday really be able to cut the cord and know that in the vast majority of the US, you can find a robust signal that gives you download speeds fast enough to be considered broadband, with reasonable limits in place on usage to where you could use it as your primary method to get online 100% of the time, and even enjoy activities that are bandwidth intensive (like streaming video).

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In rural areas, there is no spectrum crunch. The ratio of available spectrum to users is definitely very good. This would be a very good ISP solution to residents who can be within servable distance from a cell site. In places like the rural Midwest, using LTE on White Spaces you could theoretically get 20MB+ download speeds up to 20 miles away from the tower using a stationery antenna on a house. This would be amazing for millions of rural Americans who have no broadband access or very limited broadband access (like 1MB DSL).


The spectrum crunch really only exists in the Top 100 markets. There is so much unused spectrum in the rest of the country. In fact, so much of it is being sat on and squandered with no hope of ever being built out. This aspect is almost criminal.

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So, I've mused about something opposite to this. Will there ever come a time when you are your own carrier? If we can get some talent together I say yes.


The 900mhz, 2400mhz and 5ghz ISM bands are free for the public to use and would be great for creating a coordinated and truely community-supported Nationwide Broadband network.


The devices which make up this network would not be unlike traditional 802.11b/g/n devices but instead of building them with cheap antennae we would produce them to make use of the maximum gain allowed by the FCC.


The devices would have two component networks, a private network which is given bandwidth priority (like wifi). It would be reserved for use by the businesses and homeowners who buy the device. The second component network would be a public network which all owners of these and other compliant devices could access freely.


In order to provide a seamless and secure experience every base station device would have VPN server capabilites on board. When connecting to a public base station, the end device accessing that network can only gain internet access via VPN client connection to their home base station.


To make these base stations smarter, I would like to implement multimode logic into the base station so that it will listen to other base stations and end devices' noise to coordinate with those other devices. As the devices coordinate they will determine which spectrum overlaps and which devices are at capacity. The base stations will use this information to reconfigure the network to be more efficient by offloading users onto other base stations, adjusting power, finally switching frequencies to accommodate range and load requirements.


If the new spray on antenna material that Google endorsed really works on end devices as well as they say, we could be looking at coverage that goes toe to toe with private carriers and wins.


My biggest issues from a big picture perspective are figuring out how much range we would really see and installation of base stations along unpopulated areas like highways.


For estimating the range, I would assume a base station using 4 monopole antennas (for mimo) inside a home at maximum gain (+36dBm ?) and an end device with a (+20dbm) gain.


For the highway issue I feel that the cost for local governments to install these stations would be minimal and could therefore be justified.

Edited by lynyrd65
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