Northwest Wireless Conference

Posted by Sam Churchill on


The Northwest Wireless and Security Conference in Portland, Oregon, yesterday, brought some of the nation’s top Security and Wireless experts together.


Northwest Venture Capital firms and the great unwashed contemplated the bullet points of Stephen Saltzman, Director Strategic Investments, Broadband and Wireless, for Intel Capital (right):

  • Some 8,500 people use WiFi at Intel today, some 60,000 (nearly everyone) will be using it in a year or so.
  • Microsoft’s Redmond campus has 4,500 Access Points.
  • 35 million people are using WiFi this year.
  • Some 60 companies are making Wi-Fi radios and chipsets
  • Asian carriers may utilize Intel’s “Universal Communicator” before U.S. carriers.
  • San Franciso, San Diego, Austin and Florida are the major wireless centers – Portland is 2nd tier.

A panel including Ben Berry, Chief Technology Officer, Providence Health System, Richard McDaniel, Business Systems Support Manager, Columbia Sportswear and Steven Schroedl, President of VerilLAN discussed issues in providing wireless services.

  • Berry said Providence has 35,000 employees in the Northwest and is providing wireless handhelds for docs and nurses. It can call up charts and other info. They are also using the voice-activated Vocera system. The Health Information Act provides security guidelines. Berry was instrumental is creating a Smart Clothing Initiative in Portland. A cluster of related Portland businesses would be involved. “Smart clothing” would be used for active telemetry (for athletics) and patient monitoring (for patients).
  • McDaniel uses handhelds for warehouse work and wearable computers. He said a though site survey, creating equipment redundancy and 8 hour batter life is important. Columbia Sportswear, like Nike and other local companies are investigating the viability of a smart clothing cluster for the region.
  • Schroedl discussed his Vivato Portland deployment (three antennas are planned), his Oregon Coast deployment and his 802.16a backhaul gear. Schroedl’s VerilLAN received the first FCC-certified Wi-LAN gear available. The 802.16a-like equipment can be field upgradeable to full 802.16a compliance. It delivers 24 mbps for 22 miles. Schroedl says wireless connections can save users $500 by avoiding LATA fees.

    The 802.16a backbone extends from Beaverton to Vancouver, Washington and has a feed from the Pittock. The Vivato beam antenna, currently on a building facing Portland’s business core from the East Side of the river will be joined by antennas on the south end of town and at another location. Commercial service (rumored to be very affordable), will begin soon.

Security of wired and wireless networks was a big part of the conference. Paul Kurtz, Special Assistant to the President for Critical Infrastructure Protection, Homeland Security Council gave a keynote. John Kuypers, project administrator for the Regional Maritime Security Coalition-Columbia River and Mike Francis, chief analyst, Swan Island Networks discussed ways to identify appropriate grants, write effective proposals and manage programs and relationships with grantors.

RAINS-Net demoed a live, secure emergency notification system. You could watch current Portland police and emergency dispatch operations and have notification messages forwarded to wireless devices. Portland has a large cluster of companies developing security applications and devices.

I’d tell you more – but then I’d have to shoot you.


Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, October 3rd, 2003 at 6:53 am .

Leave a Reply