I think that both of these solutions are kind of interesting.  If I remember
correctly, there was some discussion a while back about the etherlinx ideas.

The canopy system seems to be pretty effective, at the very least from a
marketing perspective.  Can any of our RF engineer types comment on the
validity of their claims?

Like you said, the prices are reasonable, that is if you have that sort of
cash laying around.  It would be very cool to develop neighborhood, and then
possibly city-wide ISP type networks where users could share the burden of
equipment and connection costs.  The startup equipment costs for the end
user (for the canopy system) are pretty darned high compared to cable, and
even to DSL.  Then too, you need a good high point to mount the AP....
Overall, I think Motorola has got something good going here - don't sell
service itself, sell the shovels to dig the service, so to speak.

The question of money is pretty critical - if we, as the TCWUG developed a
city wide system, and then had end users pay for access, we'd almost by
definition have to be non-profit.  That's doesn't mean that we,
collectively, couldn't make money off of the idea, it's just a lot different
from your basic ISP startup who's sole purpose is to make money, and
preferrably lots of it.  I would guess that in several years, some sort of
city-wide ISP will probably offer this ala Ricochet (or maybe even Richochet
itself?), and that would make it difficult to compete.  I don't know many
companies successfully offering dial-up out of their garage anymore - there
just isn't much profit to be made.  But if we got in at the ground floor (or
would that be the second floor, altitude wise?), and established a presence
before Earthlink/AOL/whoever comes in and drops million$ on the Twin Cities,
this idea might just survive.  Furthermore, if it was non-profit, there
might be some sort of funding (grants, etc...) that would help cover startup

Just my keyboard running wild - I hope some of these ideas resonate with
someone else...

- Nick

-----Original Message-----
From: tcwug-list-admin at tcwug.org [mailto:tcwug-list-admin at tcwug.org]On
Behalf Of Austad, Jay
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2002 12:38 PM
To: 'tcwug-list at tcwug.org'
Subject: RE: [TCWUG] Richochet boxes?

Richochet is planning on rolling the service out again to the public here
soon.  They are testing it in Denver now.  I still have a pcmcia ricochet
card, but it's not that impressive.  Connectivity is spotty, and very slow
in most cases.  It's better than nothing, but it's still kinda sketchy.

http://www.etherlinx.com/ has an interesting "last mile" solution using
802.11b.  It basically uses your neighbors access point to hop off of and
eventually get routed to the ISP's network.  The more people that sign up,
the more coverage they get.

Motorola has something called Canopy
(http://www.motorola.com/canopy/index.html).  This actually looks very
interesting.  Same type of deal as above, but seems to have a greater range.
Pricing isn't bad either.  http://www.ecommwireless.com/canopy.html

Access points run around $1000, and subscriber modules run around $500 each.
An ISP starter kit runs $30k.  I'd be very interested in playing with this
stuff.  There seems to be much more potential here than with standard 802.11
equipment.  Plus, if a bunch of us could get a basic network set up and
running, we'd have the ability to provide public access to it and possibly
make some money too.