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March News
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A Personal Message From Our Founder and CEO - Timothy Kilkenny

Is Wireless ready for primetime?

Unlicensed Wireless Wide Area Network Connections

I was recently asked to explain why FullNet was not doing any new installs in the unlicensed wireless wide area network (WAN) market.  I thought I would give you my views as both a consumer and business owner.

THE TECHNOLOGY

Wireless was initially moved into market as a local area network (LAN) solution.  I remember 3 years ago explaining to Cisco engineers what we planned to do with their emerging technology and they cautioned against it.

  1. Interference – With unlicensed wireless, anyone can “step on your signal” or interfere with your connections if they set up a similar service between you and your customer, and there is nothing you can do about it.
  2. Security - Can be an issue with others picking up on your signal.  It is possible to intercept some of the wireless radio transmissions without much difficulty.
  3. Weather - Is a constant problem in Oklahoma.  We have had lightening strike our towers several times.  Lightning blows out the radios and can require a tower climb to fix it.  Extreme heat in the summer has also been a challenge for us.

THE ECONOMICS

  1. Large Installation cost – There is a large up front cost in time and materials to make the first connection from your home or office.  Typically, wireless radios can cost $250 to $500.  The consumer is used to a small or non-existent installation charge and often baulks at such a cost.
  2. Large Monthly Reoccurring cost – Charges to the consumer must be set with the idea that there will be maintenance needed on the towers and the customer sites periodically because of Oklahoma wind or ice storms.  Therefore the economics call for much more costly pricing than the typical $40 to $50 that most people are willing to spend for DSL or Cable Internet Connections.
  3. The long-term viability of Providers – Many companies such as Sprint and AT&T have either suspended or dismantled their Wireless WAN rollout.  It is just too costly to the provider when compared to hard-wired solutions, which are just as expensive to rollout but the not nearly as expensive to maintain.

In my humble opinion, Unlicensed Wireless (WAN) is just not ready for large-scale deployment.  The technology is not as good as many claim, and it was not designed for the purposes to which it is being used in most cases.  In addition, the economics are forbidding both for the end user and the provider.

There is a light on the horizon!  It is called Licensed Wireless, and there are several spectrums to watch in the future. 

Multipoint Microwave Distribution System (MMDS)
Local Multipoint Distribution System (LMDS)

Until you see the opportunity to get involved with either LMDS or MMDS, I would suggest you stick with hardwired options if reliability and consistent service is important to you.

Timothy J. Kilkenny
Founder and CEO


Webbing Along, Playing Your Favorite Song, Online

Now there’s something online to satisfy your music taste.  There are literally hundreds of stations playing non-stop funk, pop, gospel, opera, oldies and everything in between, plus specialty stations such as MTV’s 100 Greatest Pop Songs and Woodstock ’69 Radio, to name two.

All you have to do to listen is use an audio player such as Windows Media plug-in or a special player you can download on each site.  Depending on your connection speed, you will find the sound quality fairly good and the signal seldom choppy.  Best of all, there are fewer (if any) commercials than on conventional radio stations.

The main feature that sets Internet radio apart from its traditional cousin is your ability to customize.  That means that if you don’t like a song, a quick click lets you move on to the next one.  How specific can you get?  Sonicnet.com allows you to create your own personal station with only the artists you want to hear.  Hear an artist you don’t like?  You can tell Sonicnet to never play that particular artist on your station again – so it actually gets smarter the longer you listen and the more you customize.

Here is a list of other radio Web Sites for your convenience:

  • NetRadio.com – You can access 120 channels of programmed music and buy the CD when you hear a song you like.
  • InternetRadioList.com – 1,500 stations from around the world including both AM & FM.
  • Live365.com - Tune in to more than 25,000 independent radio feeds offering talk, R&B, “80s, punk, and everything else.  You can even broadcast you own station.

As a personal touch this month, I invite you to visit the sites listed below for some old fashioned fun.  The creator and voice is Bob Backman, the first General Manager of K95FM (KWEN) radio in Tulsa, OK.  Bob spent the first few years of his broadcast career as a Rockin’ Roll Disc Jockey in Philadelphia.  I had the privilege of working for Bob from 1981 to 1984 before he left to start his own radio station in St. Louis.  Bob currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Believe it or not, these Web Sites are only a hobby for Bob.  If you’re under 40 years old, you may want to find someone older to listen with you so that they can enhance your listening pleasure with their own stories of nostalgia, which will surely be brought on by the music and sounds they hear.

Spring is just around the calendar.  In fact the “Vernal Equinox” is March 20th.  Next month we will “Spring” into the Web Sites that will do more than feed your appetite for surfing the Web. 

Don Turner
VP Marketing & Authorized Agent Sales

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