The New York Times reported today that a WiFi
Internet service shortage is growing at technical conference presentations.
Shared WiFi signal strength dissipates quickly when presenters, reporters and guests compete simultaneously for the same wireless router signal strength.
Wireless spectrum, routers and the Internet signals become overwhelmed by too many laptops, smartphones and other devices sucking wireless bandwidth.
Steve Jobs of Apple at a conference last year had to ask attendees to turn off their WiFi connections so he could demonstrate the iPad’s browser.
Then during 2010’s Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, too many attendees using an open WiFi network caused loss of Internet signal strength. Internet connections suddenly dropped leaving computer servers gasping for data.
Mobile Carriers and Internet Data Services
Recently, AT&T Mobility announced new WiFi hotspots for its customers in several populated areas of San Francisco and New York City to reduce an Internet service shortage due, in part, to iPhone data users.
On the same day Sprint/Clearwire turned on 4G WiMax, a type of WiFi with extended coverage, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Wireless Data Demand Exceeds Supply
The major reason for WiFi Internet data shortages is similar to cellular wireless congestion. In large metropolitan areas during prime time, mobile customers, using smartphones and laptop modems, exceed available network capacity. This isn’t the case in smaller communities where demand is lower.
Unlike other electronic devices, today’s consumers and businesses expect mobile devices to operate flawlessly around the clock.
Yet few people use their desktop computers, television sets, audio systems, furnaces, air conditioners or cars 24 hours a day. When people flock to work, these and other devices are usually turned off or adjusted for minimal operation.
But mobile phones, tablets and other wireless devices, always connected to the Internet, are the first 24/7 gadgets that are indispensable to people in their work and personal lives. Mobile phones in particular stayed within nine feet of most users.
Cellular and WiFi Internet Service Shortage Solutions
Finding solutions to wireless Internet demand–both cellular and WiFi hotspots–will require a number of actions. Metering, charging heavy Internet users more for connectivity than light users, is one solution the carriers have already implemented.
Continuing to build higher capacity 3G and 4G wireless data networks is ongoing. Yet, demand for wireless Internet access continues expanding. As with electrical service during peak periods, blackouts and slower data network performance will always impact mobility in our age of wireless data.