Friday, November 23, 2007

Google Pushing the Technological Envelope ?

Recently, Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO had some rather interesting - if not somewhat perplexing - comments about how he thinks technology has and will help the Internet search engine companys' pending venture (read ADventure) into the world of wireless. Here is an excerpt of the portion of the conversation between Schmidt and Spencer Michels of NPR's Online NewsHour that caught my attention:

MICHELS: I talked to an industry analyst a week or so ago, Andrew Seybold, and this is what he said and I'm kind of curious as to how you would answer it. "Google's view of the wireless world is an extension of the Internet. And as much as I respect Google, the wireless industry can't be an extension of the Internet because wireless bandwidth is finite. It's a fixed resource and a shared bandwidth. The more people who use it in a given area the less data speed they have, so you can't take the Internet model and just move it to the wireless world. You have to change that model a little bit as you move forward." Is that fair criticism?

ERIC SCHMIDT: That's exactly the same criticism that was said about the wired Internet 15 years ago. That somehow the wired Internet would not scale, would not grow, that we would not learn how to build applications that could work for example in shared what are called hybrid fiber coax networks which you have at your home. The fact of the matter is that the industry can solve these problems and solves them very well. I completely disagree of the characterization that somehow the wireless network is going to be any different than the wired network. People want to use the Internet and they want to use it at home and in their office and when they're on the go and when they're on the airplanes. And they want to use the same powerful applications whether it's a personal device that they're carrying or on their desktop or at the beach.

SPENCER MICHELS: People want to use all the water they want to use, but there isn't enough water, so some people don't have enough water to water their lawns. That doesn't mean it's there.

ERIC SCHMIDT: Technology is different and the technology can create things out of nothing. The fact of the matter is that there's enormous spectrum becoming available through licensing programs, better radio design, faster computers, and so forth that in the next five or 10 years most of us will be carrying around devices that could speak on networks that are faster than the networks we currently use.

SPENCER MICHELS: Do you agree with the boss?

ANDY RUBIN: Absolutely. This is Moore's Law for wireless, or Moore's Law for spectrum. You know when we're on the wired Internet, in my day we had dial-up modems. Then we got DSL, then we got broadband, we're in the megabit speeds. Same thing happened to wireless. Remember those old analog phones where you'd get a dropped call every mile you traveled? Now we have digital phones, we have newer modulations that are helping us pack, densely pack, more calls in a single channel. And I'm just very optimistic that we'll have newer modulations throughout time that'll just get us faster and faster in the broadband areas.

SPENCER MICHELS: So Seybold saying that the bandwidth is finite, is it relevant?

ANDY RUBIN: Technology doesn't stand still.

With all due respect to Mr. Schmidt et all, may I remind him that there are many major differences between a wired and a wireless network? Technology is indeed advancing, and, has certainly changed a great many elements in our lives and the world. However, the laws of physics, particularly those concerning RF and wireless, remain firmly in place. Last I knew, no one had figured out how to completely circumvent them yet, but I know some are working very hard at it. :>)

May I further suggest that it may be far wiser for Google and company - prior to purchasing ANY wireless spectrum - to invest a few of their many dollars and enroll Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Rubin in a Basic Radio (that's the original name for the resource that everyone now calls wireless) 101 course? (IMHO, Radio 101 should be a prerequisite for any IT professional who wants to become involved with wireless IT) Upon successful completion of the course, perhaps each of them will have a clearer understanding of the many differences between a wired (IT) and wireless (RF) network that RF professionals have been attempting to share with them (and that their own IT professionals may NOT have)

( you suppose my suggestion will help bring the IT and RF guys/gals a little closer to listening, understanding, and actually working with each other through some much needed and shared mutual collaboration? I suppose we can always hope!)