Wireless Advantages over DSL and Cable

After having spent the better part of an evening touring friends and family to get their DSL and cable lines back up running I once more noticed two striking advantages of wireless broadband versus the fixed line competition:

  • Installation cost: For wireless broadband you go to the next supermarket (in some countries) and buy a bundled SIM card and USB/PCMCIA HSDPA modem. The software is pretty much self installing and you are up and running in 10 minutes. Compare that to the 10 months waiting time of a friend of mine for a cable connection and the 3 hour installation time with 4 technicians retrofitting the cable infrastructure in the apartment building. Also, compare that to the DSL nightmare in many countries when you want to switch from one DSL provider to another. I know few people who managed to get that done seamlessly and far to many who sat on the dry for weeks and weeks before their DSL link started working again.
  • Troubleshooting: If there is a problem on the last mile on your DSL and cable link it’s likely that you are the only one that is impacted. Have fun convincing the customer hotline that it’s not your PC or modem that is acting up. If there is a problem with the base station in a wireless network, however, 1000 people will be impacted, red lights will start flashing in the network operation center and emergency repair operations will kick in within a couple of minutes.

I leave it to you to draw the conclusions.

2 thoughts on “Wireless Advantages over DSL and Cable”

  1. The only problem I see here is that mobile data contracts sport fuzzy terms like “limited of 10GB data transfer, subject to a policy of fair use” or “you may not use peer to peer software with this service”.
    As you certainly know, Skype’s also P2P and by using it you may be breaching the contract.

    Until mobility stops being considered a premium service, all things considered, the best deal still is to subscribe to a DSL/Cable service. These tend to be faster (for example here in Portugal the largest cable provider is already offering 30Mb downstream speed) and with lower limitations (many have unlimited national data transfer rates and very high international rates).

  2. I agree that DSL installation and troubleshooting can be time consuming.

    However, once I got my own DSL service combined with a WiFi router up and running it has been working very well. I get megabit per second speeds and unlimited data for $17.99 per month with AT&T here the US.

    I believe it would be difficult to get a comparable indoor service with HSDPA at similar speeds and costs even in Europe, where mobile coverage is generally better than in the US.

    So, I don’t think 3G will replace DSL or Cable combined with WiFi when it comes to broadband access in common indoor locations such as at home and at work. Instead, I see them as complementary technologies that will exist side by side.

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