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[RFI] BSL with "WiFi" last-mile connection

To: rfi@contesting.com
Subject: [RFI] BSL with "WiFi" last-mile connection
From: Tom Cox <tomcox@iquest.net>
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 12:49:17 -0500
List-post: <mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
The idea of passing BSL over high voltage distribution lines and then sending it to subscribers via 2.4 GHz digital radios is interesting. This connection method uses two Part 15 (unlicensed) media, niether of which has any regulatory protection against interference from licensed or unlicensed users. 2.4 GHz is the most heavily used part of the unlicensed wireless networking spectrum (802.11, 802.11b and 802.11g equipment all use it), and already this gear is subject to interference from microwave ovens, 2.4 GHz cordless phones, and wireless audio/video distribution systems, as well as other networking equipment.

Reliable, enterprise-class wireless networking equipment is not cheap, and SOHO-class gear will probably not stand up to the kinds of usage and environmental stresses of being sited in close proximity to power lines.

Let's see -- BSL is vulnerable to disruption from nearby HF or low-VHF transmitters (assuming the signals can be heard over the utilities' own line noise). 2.4 GHz wireless is crowded and subject to its own host of interference problems, including power restrictions and many users in a small slice of spectrum.

If this is the hand the power companies are betting on, I wouldn't want to be a stockholder when customers start cancelling and moving to DSL or cable modems. If my power utility goes to the state wanting to raise rates to pay for a bad investment, the Public Utilities Commission will be hearing from me. A lot.

Tom, KT9OM

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