Wireless Broadband Networks: The U.S. Experience

Bharat Rao and Mihir A. Parikh
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 8, Number 1, Fall 2003, pp. 37.

Abstract: Corresponding to the rise and acceptance of the 802.11b standard (Wi-Fi) in the United States, wireless local area networks (WLANs) that offer high-speed Internet access at numerous locations in markets that cover education, health care, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, government, and transportation are experiencing rapid growth. There has also been an active establishment of innovative business models to tap into the general demand for high-speed Internet access by creating wireless broadband networks based on clusters of WLANs. This paper outlines the key factors driving Wi-Fi growth and describes competing technologies. Using mini-cases, it explores the strategies of four organizations involved in developing wireless broadband networks (Boingo, Joltage Networks, Sputnik, and NYC Wireless). Although operating in the same market, these organizations offer significantly different access methodologies and services. The nature of possible future innovation in this domain is also examined.

Key Words and Phrases: Broadband network innovation, business models, wireless infrastructure, wireless LAN, Wi-Fi, 802.11.