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Metro Wi-Fi network coverage to reach 325,000 square kilometres by 2010

According to a report published today by ABI Research, municipal Wi-Fi networks covered only about 3,885 square kil...


March 15, 2006  


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According to a report published today by ABI Research, municipal Wi-Fi networks covered only about 3,885 square kilometres last year.

Yet by 2010, that figure is expected to increase to over 325,000 square kilometres, an area slightly larger than Poland, or the U.S. state of New Mexico.

The bulk of these deployments will take place in North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

To serve those networks, more than one million wireless mesh routers will be shipped in 2010 and revenues from those shipments will exceed US$1.2 billion.

According to the report, many local governments clearly wish to deploy municipal broadband networks for public safety as well as increased government efficiency.

In addition, alternative ISPs see mesh networking as enabling their own broadband service facilities to compete with incumbent service providers.

ABI says wireless mesh networking technology is seen as an efficient and cost-effective means of providing broadband access to underserved areas. This is particularly noticeable as the municipal Wi-Fi trend moves from larger municipalities into smaller cities and towns.

Potentially, wireless mesh networking technology can serve as a competitive tool for cable operators.

“The majority of municipal Wi-Fi deployments in the recent past have been based on mesh technology,” said Sam Lucero, a senior analyst with the firm. “But that could change, depending on how markets receive Wi-Max and similar cellular point-to-point technologies when they become available. That is something we’re keeping a close eye on.

“Incumbent service providers are not likely to adopt wireless mesh networking technology for their primary networks because it does not provide adequate bandwidth for bundled video, voice, and broadband data.”

Further information on the report is available at www.abiresearch.com.