Is Dailywireless kaput? Is Sam Churchill, dead? How come no posts in a couple of months? Regular viewers of Dailywireless have been sending me get well cards, great artisan coffee and many kind words.
I’m not dead, but Dailywireless has fallen into a coma. I’m contemplating pulling the plug. It’s been a good 12 year run.
Don Park and I started it in March of 2002. That was before smartphones or 4G, before Netflix or Youtube, before AdSense, and before terrific tools like Techmeme began aggregating content better than humans. The mission of Dailywireless always remained the same; to spread the word about fast, cheap wireless internet access. And by “cheap” we meant “free”.
Back in 2002, Don and I had seen WiFi clients go from $800 to $200 and Portland’s Personal Telco Project, a community non-profit, was installing “free” internet access in pubs and coffee shops. We wanted to spread the word with Dailywireless.org.
Community WiFi networks became all the rage in 2005-6. By late 2007 the movement was all but dead. It was killed by high costs of thousands of nodes, poor coverage and reliability, and 4G standards using licensed bands, first WiMax and then LTE. Google’s Mountain View network, lead by Chris Sacca, is one of the few exceptions.
Smartphones and cellular connectivity soon became the fastest growing phenomena the world has ever seen. Global mobile subscribers have surpassed 7 Billion, up from 7 Million in 1989. Mobile subs will surpass the world’s population in 2015.
Meanwhile, unlicensed WiFi became bigger than anyone had imagined. When smartphones became ubiquitous, they needed indoor penetration and lots of bandwidth. WiFi was often the technology of choice. Everyone needed it. Every smartphone had it.
The FCC expanded the 5 GHz band to nearly 1 GHz. The IEEE ran out of letters, developing the 802.11ac and 802.11ad standards, incorporating MIMO and other techniques to take advantage of new spectrum. Meanwhile, Bluetooth, iBeacon, the Internet of Things, drones, balloons, High Throughput satellites, white spaces, 3.5 GHz, and 70/80 GHz have percolated up in a primordial alphabet soup.
Ten years ago, Brewster Kahle’s community WiFi network in San Francisco’s Precideo had a goal of $1 per month for every 1 Mbps of speed. Today $1 per month per 1 GByte of capacity seems doable. That’s progress. It’s all good. Exciting. Revolutionary.
Take Google Fiber, for instance. They’ll probably use a combination of unlicensed and licensed spectrum to reach phones.
Don and I never expected Dailywireless was going to make a lot of money. And it never did. That’s okay with us. It WAS fun.
Dailywireless was a long-term “notes to myself” project, just to keep track of wireless news. I’m glad others found it useful. Thanks for all your kind words and support.
But I need to move on with something fresh. My newest project is Gorge-VR.org, which experiments with VR and Google Cardboard. It’s also just for fun. I should get a real job, but I’m 66 years old, now. I figure I can do what I want.
Thanks everyone. I really enjoyed our time together.
– Sam Churchill