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Wireless Networking

The Tablet Debate: 3G Or Wi-Fi? 395

Posted by samzenpus
from the pick-a-side dept.
Barence writes "We regularly review tablets and mention the fact that X tablet has Wi-Fi, Y tablet has 3G, but how many people are interested in each? Do most people view 3G as a must-have extra, or is Wi-Fi plenty for a device most commonly used in the home? We asked our readers for their opinions and the responses were fairly evenly split between those on both sides, with a healthy proportion also saying they may not choose it but like to have 3G as an option. What do Slashdotters think? Is 3G a must-have for tablets or will a tethered smartphone do the job?"
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The Tablet Debate: 3G Or Wi-Fi?

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  • Too pricey. (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrQuacker (1938262) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:24PM (#35885880)
    I would love 3G, so I can get web access all over the place, but when they want to charge me $50/month for 5Gb of data... GTFO
    • Re:Too pricey. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mirix (1649853) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:56PM (#35886094)

      This. If I lived in Europe, I'd want 3G. - In North America, fuck it. The price is just not justifiable.

      • This. If I lived in Europe, I'd want 3G. - In North America, fuck it. The price is just not justifiable.

        Even in Europe the price is not justifiable. I'm already paying for 3g on my phone and it tethers without a hiccup, why would I let them double bill me?

        • by mirix (1649853)

          I meant for phone too. It's too expensive here, full stop. I don't think I will ever have a data plan here unless things change drastically.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Virgin mobile has a plan that is $25 for 300 talk minutes and unlimited text/data. Their phone choices aren't that great, but there ARE options available in the US with very reasonable data plans.

    • by PhotoJim (813785)

      $35 for 5 GB here in Canada, but I find 250 MB is enough. That gives me connectivity without a lot of expense. The only time I ever upgrade to the bigger data package is if I know I'll be attending some sporting events. I sometimes stream the TV broadcast onto my iPad so I can see replays, hear the commentary, etc. (The people who sit around me love it.) But I've had my iPad since August, and in only one month have I needed the bigger package.

    • $50/month for 5Gb? GTFO! That sounds cheap! I live in .au though.

      I use 3G on my ipad all the time and you'd be surprised how little you actually use. I bought one last July, use it at work, home and on transport and almost always use 3G (I live 5km from CBD and can't get adsl at home ...) and have only just broken 6gb of data. What do you plan to use it for that will use that much data? I guess it's more intense then youtube somehow
  • by Super Dave Osbourne (688888) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:26PM (#35885902)
    the trusty pile of sticks and blanket.
  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash&omnifarious,org> on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:28PM (#35885910) Homepage Journal

    My laptop, my phone, and my tablet should all just be viewports and ways of interacting with one homogenous device. They should all be integrated parts of a whole.

    To that end, I do not care which thing has which feature. I just care that I can seamlessly access the Internet no matter where I am.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > To that end, I do not care which thing has which feature.
      > I just care that I can seamlessly access the Internet no matter where I am.

      Good luck with that.

      Truth is that you will have better luck at some 3rd world tourist trap than outer suburbia.

    • My laptop, my phone, and my tablet should all just be viewports and ways of interacting with one homogenous device. They should all be integrated parts of a whole.

      BlackBerry's PlayBook displays your mail & contacts from your BlackBerry phone. In fact it's the only way to get email or contacts on your PlayBook so far. Their approach is interesting but very limited at the moment.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        ...

        So the iPad, iPhone and iTunes sync your contacts, notes, mail, songs, videos, and photos between all 3 if you don't mind syncing manually, of course they'll all 3 sync over the air with several services to stay insync without plugin type syncs.

        not exactly sure whats supposed to be impressive about what BlackBerry offers, could you maybe tell me how its supposed to be impressive?

        BlackBerry ceased to matter the instant the iPhone came out, even though the iOS groups is targeted at personal users and BB at

    • by z_gringo (452163)
      I'm totally with you. Unfortunately, my magic trinity of devices that do all that has been on the fritz ever since I purchased it. What model are you using?
      • I don't know the model number or who makes it unfortunately. It's all rather obscured by the fact that it's from the dim and hazy possible future. *sigh*

        I still think it's worth stating what the eventual goal is. Makes it easier to figure out how to get there.

  • by niftydude (1745144) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:29PM (#35885922)
    If you have a gsm phone... If you are unfortunate to have a cdma phone - your internet connection will drop out every time someone calls you.

    That could become annoying.
    • Given the rarity with which I am actually called on my phone when not using it at work, I'll trade the talk-and-data and the lower speed in some markets for the fact that Verizon actually has a signal where I live and work, and AT&T doesn't. The greatest tech features mean nothing if I can't use them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PhotoJim (813785)

      True as long as you have 3G GSM (WCDMA). 2G/2.5G GSM (i.e. GPRS or EDGE) pauses the data connection to let the call go through.

    • by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @07:29PM (#35886398)
      It's amusing how a CDMA superiority has become spun as a GSM advantage, or a "limitation" of CDMA. CDMA scaled well enough that you could use the same radio for low-bandwidth transmissions (voice) and high-bandwidth transmissions (3G data). Consequently, CDMA carriers rolled out 3G service 1-2 years before GSM carriers. Unfortunately, since voice and data use different protocols, you couldn't do them simultaneously using the single radio. But hey, at least you could do 3G.

      GSM OTOH uses time-domain multiplexing (basically the phones take turns talking to the tower). That's ok for voice, but horribly wasteful of bandwidth for data. Consequently, GSM providers had to develop an entirely new system and protocol for data, which is why it took them 1-2 years to catch up to CDMA's 3G data. When they finally did roll it out, it needed an entirely separate radio (you had to upgrade phones), which added to the complexity, cost, and power consumption of the phone. But a second radio carries with it the advantage of doing voice and data simultaneously. In terms of use, there are very few times when you actually need to use them simultaneously. The CDMA carriers didn't package a second dedicated 3G data radio in their phones simply because there wasn't enough demand for it. It only became an issue when Verizon and AT&T got into an advertising war.

      Fast forward to today. The 4G on CDMA carriers uses a different technology for data and, just like GSM phones, a different radio than that used for voice. If your CDMA phone has a 4G connection, it can do simultaneous voice and data just fine. It has nothing to do with CDMA or GSM, everything to do with how many radios are on your phone. (The same is why phones can do simultaneous voice and WiFi. 802.11b/g/n uses yet another different radio.)
      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @08:58PM (#35887110)

        It's amusing how a CDMA superiority has become spun as a GSM advantage

        What is quite a lot more amusing is to watch someone claim a feature that is significantly less useful for the user is in any way a mark of "superiority". Just because it has a nicer technical design does not make it superior if the end result to the user is inferior.

        That's the thing that technical minded people on Slashdot continue to find elusive, this notion that technology exists to serve people and not the other way round.

  • Also on Slashdot: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:29PM (#35885924)

    Is a $200 graphics card a must-have?

    Are hiking boots a must-have?

    Is a baby stroller a must-have?

    Is 4WD a must-have?

    The answers to these questions and many more: It depends, you idiot!

    • Point well made ... it depends on circumstances. And it also depends on cost / value. My current project is mounting an Android tablet on a touring motorcycle. I rode 9,000 miles last year with a mounted iPhone; vibration and weather were not a problem. Why not take it up a notch this year with a full-on HUD? The tablet provides phone, music, maps, video recording, location tracking, and more ... and most functions are hands free with voice control through an in-helmet bluetooth headset. For this appli
  • by RollingThunder (88952) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:31PM (#35885930)

    Until we get Personal Area Networks properly working (a la Shadowrun 4, where your phone is just a voice interface to the same uplink node that everything else you have is also using), I would go with tethering. It just makes more sense to me, instead of having to have two separate contracts for 3G connectivity... and isn't that one of the entire points behind Bluetooth anyways?

    • by icebike (68054)

      and isn't that one of the entire points behind Bluetooth anyways?

      Its also one of the points behind WIFI.

      Almost any Android Smartphone phone can do WIFI tethering these days. And a Wifi Stack can handle WPA2 encryption, where as most bluetooth stacks provide you with no clear idea of how secure the connection is.

  • by Sunshinerat (1114191) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:32PM (#35885934)

    Can't use the tablet while driving, have wifi in the coffee shop while on a driving break.
    Can't use the tablet with G3 on the plane, when lucky the in-air wifi is working.
    Have wifi in the airport terminal.
    Have wifi at home.
    Have wifi at work.

    That is about where I would have the need for a tablet, so wifi will do, thank you I will keep the $50/month in pocket.

    • It amazes me that you consider your tablet useless when not connected to a network. Surely that must be an Apple product and not an Android?

      • by Wraithlyn (133796)

        It amazes me that you got "my tablet is useless when not connected to a network" out of that post.

        He simply expressed that wherever he might potentially have an actual use for 3G, he already has Wifi available. You know, comparing the usefulness of 3G vs Wifi. It's only the subject of the fucking article.

        But hey, don't let basic reading comprehension stand in the way of your tired Apple bashing.

      • You do realize, don't you, that this answer was in the context of the question of, "Should your tablet have just wifi, or wifi+3g?" The GP doesn't say anywhere that the tablet is useless without a network connection, but only enumerates the locations where a network connection would be useful, but where--in their estimation--Wifi is good enough and 3G may not even be available.

        I disagree on one point. The 3G versions (at least of the iPad) come with GPS built in--I assume that it's because of OEM chips
    • Can't use the tablet while driving

      Can use the tablet while on a bus.

      Have wifi in the airport terminal.

      At how much extra per month?

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Can catch cold and flu from idiots on the bus.
        Can get head ache from idiots being loud on the bus
        Bus's a great for general low income or tourist public transportation. They suck for anything else.

        The last couple of times I was at the airport, the wi-fi was open. So it cost nothing.

      • by jrumney (197329)

        Can use the tablet while on a bus.

        The buses around here (developing world country in South East Asia) have Wifi.

        Have wifi in the airport terminal.

        At how much extra per month? Airport Wifi is free in most of the airports I've visited the past few years. International 3G roaming on the other hand requires access to the same level of funds that would cover RIAAs claims against Limewire.

    • Actually if I could have a dash mount for my tablet for driving directions... that would be awesome.
    • by rsborg (111459)

      Can't use the tablet while driving, have wifi in the coffee shop while on a driving break.

      Can't use the tablet with G3 on the plane, when lucky the in-air wifi is working.

      Have wifi in the airport terminal.

      Have wifi at home.

      Have wifi at work.

      That is about where I would have the need for a tablet, so wifi will do, thank you I will keep the $50/month in pocket.

      You sound single. Besides some tablets [apple.com] offer paygo data options... once you use an iPad 3G for mapping while your spouse/SO is driving, you'll never look back.
      $50/mo is steep...
      but $15 or $20/mo for on-demand months where I travel (probably 3-6 mo / yr) is very doable.

    • by erice (13380)

      Can't use the tablet while driving, have wifi in the coffee shop while on a driving break.

      Can't use the tablet with G3 on the plane, when lucky the in-air wifi is working.

      Which it won't be unless you pay $$$$ to fly first class.

      Have wifi in the airport terminal.

      Yes, you spend half your time there signing up for the privilege of paying outrageous charges for the few minutes you have left to use the service. Maybe you get smart and signup for one of those "universal" wifi services. At your next layover you find that the universal wifi service from the first airport doesn't work here.

      Go to the conference and find out that Wifi, if you can get a strong enough signal to use it, comes with the same hefty charges

  • The problem with going 3G is the price of the associated data plan. It's ridiculous to spend $500 on a tablet and then have to spend another $40 a month to use it. I already have a smartphone with a data plan. Why should I have to pay twice?

    If carriers offered a $5 "extra" you could tack onto your phone plan for a tablet, ok, then *maybe*. But anything more than that and it's too much. And while I imagine there are going to be people who regularly use their tablets in places where there is no wifi, I don't
    • Good point. You know, don't you, that Apple negotiated some pretty slick pay-as-you-go plans with Verizon and ATT for their 3G iPads. I think with ATT, for example, it's $15.00 for 250MB in a 30-day period. Not super-awesome on a per-MB cost, but there's no startup cost, no recurring cost unless you choose to re-up, and you can stop it any time.

      It's way better than paying an extra $20/mo commitment for tethering when maybe you'll only need it for the two weeks you're on that bike trip and staying at c
      • You know, don't you, that Apple negotiated some pretty slick pay-as-you-go plans with Verizon and ATT for their 3G iPads. I think with ATT, for example, it's $15.00 for 250MB in a 30-day period. Not super-awesome on a per-MB cost [...]

        In fact, it's even worse if you use less than 250MB in a 30-day period because you still have to pay the $15 and, 30 days later, you have to pay again.

        I suppose we must have different definitions of "slick."

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Amazon manages to have free 3g built into the kindle. I would imagine Apple could do the same.

      • Amazon manages to have free 3g built into the kindle. I would imagine Apple could do the same.

        Amazon also has absurdly low data rates that apps written for the Kindle must abide by - 100kb of wireless data PER MONTH. Thats unless you have an app with a monthly fee, then the cap is somewhat higher I believe.

        Would you really rather have a platform that forces such limited use of networking resources?

    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      I think it would be awesome if you could somehow bundle your home internet data plan with nominated phones and tablet devices. In our house we have DSL, 2 smart phones and I have an iPad 3G on order. That will be 4 internet data plans for 2 people.

      The data plan for the iPad is actually quite reasonable with a 12 month pre-paid subscription through Telstra and about the same as one month's phone bill.

      Who knows, by the time the first pre-paid account runs out, maybe they will have wrapped their heads around t

      • by Macgrrl (762836)

        Note: my parents live in the country. My iPhone is with Optus, and if I'd known then what I know now about how shitty their coverage is I probably would have gone Telstra from day one for the phone. My parents only have dial up. The logic behind getting 3G for the tablet is that I can get internet when visiting them with better speeds than dial up for the most part without my mother worrying about using up her monthly quota.

  • by Chemisor (97276)

    Unless you're a millionaire, internet over 3G is way too expensive. You can get by without WiFi only if you do nothing more intensive than checking your mail.

    • by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > Unless you're a millionaire, internet over 3G is way too expensive.

      Not quite. You forgot probably the most important group: Those spending OPM. And those in NY or CA where normal economics don't apply.

      But yea, any person spending $50/mo of their own money for 3G on a tablet needs their head examined. Good grief people, just how attached to the damned Internet do you have to be, DSL or cable modem at home, $50-$100/mo/person in the household for smartphone(s) and now tablets?

      If the cell companies won

      • by vijayiyer (728590)

        My dad has a 3G iPad and pays his $25/mo for 2GB. He has no other internet access. It's a pretty good deal for him given his usage patterns.

  • WiFi only, have no need for a bunch of 3G data plans.. Use a 4G Hotspot for all my toys... Verizon CDMA no voice call dropouts because the Hotspot is not a phone. Want to connect 1 device, 3 up to 5 (never needed to do that yet). Up to 16Mbps down using LTE... but do have to watch the quota. Use my phone way too much for voice when I need data for tethering it. Have even teathred my phone to it to get 4G instead of just the EVDO 3G the phone has. Rare occurrence.

  • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:39PM (#35885988)

    Any time you have the telephone company involved with your computer, expect grief. If you don't absolutely require built-in connectivity to a cell network, Try to avoid this pain. Just two issues: 1) the provider will try to install software onto your machine that you don't want, can't delete and can't shut off; 2) the provider is not interested in upgrading your ROM for any other reason than locking you even more into their own services.

    • by fermion (181285)
      I can't say that ATT ever tried to install secret software in the iPad. Some dongle type solutions do require suspicious software, but mos reputable places use a mobile router. Vendor lockin is an issue. I agree buying a smart phone, or a tablet, or any computing device and expecting it to be supported by a mobile phone company is a truly silly thing to do. They will strip end user friendly features and have no incentive to keep the phone up to date on patches as this is a expensive process and brings in
  • by ActionDesignStudios (877390) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:44PM (#35886024)
    I use a Novatel MiFi device to provide Internet access to my iPad on the go. For $20/mo. I get unlimited data (within my state) and I have the ability to attach up to four more devices. I had rather go this route than tether my smartphone (tethering drains my battery pretty fast). The MiFi is tiny and fits in my iPad case, which is a huge plus. I would love 3G embedded into my device, but major carrier plans are ridiculously priced and limited at the moment (I'm looking at you, AT&T). If their pricing/cap structure ever changed, then I would consider a 3G-model tablet.
  • Don't most providers also provide 3G and now 4G usb modems? And don't all if not most tablets have a usb port? If so why get stuck with a 2 year plan when you can have the best of both worlds with 0 lock in?
    • by chispito (1870390)
      See also: compact mobile routers. You could use both your laptop and your tablet at the same time.
  • For me it's not worth the extra cost. And extra $127.00 (US) for a service I'm going to need a few times a year? With a crippled data plan? Sorry, but my smartphone comes with a data plan more generous than either AT&T or Verizon can offer. Especially considering their ridiculous limits on WiFi hot-spotting. Make the device within the actual cost difference of the chips and give me a reasonable data plan and I'll think about it.

  • by macemoneta (154740) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:50PM (#35886062) Homepage

    In my area, Cablevision, Time Warner, and Comcast have lined the major highways with Wifi access points. Even better, I can register my mobile device MAC addresses on the Cablevision web site, so I don't even have to go through a sign-in (it looks like an open access point to a registered MAC), and there's no extra charge for WiFi connectivity (it's included in the home internet cost).

    My wife has been driving while I Googled - in a moving vehicle - with no problem. The hand-offs seem to work fine. The more ubiquitous WiFi is, the less important 3G is. Why pay a monthly fee for something you don't need?

    I've received a survey from my cable company asking a series of questions about cellular use, and inquiring whether I'd be interested in a completely unlimited, uncapped voice/text/data Android smartphone for $29/month. I suspect that the cable companies will be offering WiFi based service in the not-too-distant future over their internet/WiFi infrastructure.

  • If you don't have Edge, 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi, I'm not buying your tablet.

    None of them has full coverage everywhere, and I want the fastest one that is covering where I am.

    There's no excuse for something that's essentially the same computational system as my phone but is 5X as heavy to have less hardware in it.

  • MiFi FTW. Hook your tablet up to it, or any other wifi device you've got. In the long run it's way more useful and cheaper

  • I'd never pay for a 3G connection for a tablet, so I'm never going to pay a premium for a 3G enabled tablet. I also don't ever see myself tethering a tablet to my phone; I'd be more likely to just use the phone itself. I can't see myself ever using a tablet where I didn't have a wifi connection. Of course, when it comes to tablets, I am definitely not in the "early adopter" demographic.
  • I'm on the fence on the 3G vs. WiFi debate. Where I live, you don't have to go very far to no longer have cellular coverage of any kind, so that kind of limits its usefulness for me. There also aren't a lot of options for 3G providers where I live -- there's one national carrier (AT&T) and two statewide carriers. One of the statewide carriers is CDMA and the other is GSM, so if the device uses a SIM card, that narrows my options even further. OTOH, the whole idea behind tablets is that they are mobi
  • At least until the telcos pull their heads out of their asses on data pricing.

  • Happy iPad (WiFi + 3G) owner here. Is Apple seriously the only one offering a tablet with both?

    • by redback (15527)

      Every tablet I have ever seen is either WiFi or Wifi+3G, never seen one with 3G and no wifi

  • I recently bought a Dell Vostro V13 with built-in 3G WWAN connectivity [dell.com], but have not activated it. It didn't cost me any extra to have it in the netbook (in fact, I think it was cheaper because it included it ;^), but first thing I did when I got the netbook was disable the 3G card in the BIOS, then I upgraded RAM, put in an SSD, and installed a new OS. I like having it as an option, but I don't suspect I'll ever activate it (unless someone else is willing to foot the bill...)

  • by mosb1000 (710161)

    I'm not going to get a 3G tablet, because I'd have to replace it when a 4G version becomes available. ATT and verizon now support tethering. The thing that makes sense right now is getting the WiFi version so that later on when I upgrade my phone I will automatically upgrade my tablet.

  • why pay for 2 data plans when you can just set up a wifi hotspot on your phone?
  • If you would have asked me last year, I woulda said 'fuggit, go with wifi'. Since then I got an iPad 3G as a gift. A couple of months ago I activated AT&T's cheapest plan and have been evaluating it. I think AT&T is charging way too much for what they offer, $15 for 250 megs? Arg. Getting past that, though, I do think it makes the Tablet more useful. I mean, anywhere you go, you can browse the net. Instant messaging works, email works, everything short of Netflix works reasonably well. I thi

  • 3G makes your tablet a LOT more expensive.

    Cheaper to have a WiFi router in your house and remember that there is a lot of WiFi to be found out in the world.

    Also WiFi isn't capped.

    Or even get a single WiFi hotspot (e.g. Verizon MiFi) and use it with ALL of your devices. Why pay by the device for 3G?
  • I'm not going to pay for a second 3G. I tether wifi from my Android phone when needed.
  • For my part, I went the WiFi-only and tethered smartphone route. I use my 3G service via a tethered device regularly, but that situation may change. If it does, I can easily discontinue the tethering service option with my mobile provider, no fuss, no penalties, no fiddling about with contracts. Also, no paying extra for 3G hardware I might not actually use. This works swimmingly for my needs.

    That said, a colleague uses her tablet very heavily for daily work and requires reliable connectivity. She opte

  • I mostly don't use 3G, since the tablet mainly stays at home/work/inbetween (public wifi). For those rare cases when I need 3G, tethering is enough.

    I tend to pre-download content, including websites, a lot, though. My guess is people who don't plan ahead, or spend a lot of time in transport, can make good use of 3G.

  • I travel to conventions, and while many hotels have free wifi, in my experience it's often flakey... And actually some of the nicer hotels (like, say, the Twin Cities Sheraton) charge like 20 bucks a day for wifi. It's because of that, that I got the 3g iPad. I only pay for the dataplan a few months of the year too, so it's not like I have a constant bill for it. I also found that I was thankful I had a 3g iPad last night when I lost power for an hour. My wife and I propped up the iPad onthe smartcover an
  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @10:04PM (#35887452)

    What I would like to see is a non-profit org get created for the sole purpose of acquiring licensed spectrum for long-range packet radio, and to create an open-licensed wireless protocol to use it-- Then release it publicly FOSS style.

    Because it would be long distance (1 to 2 miles would be the ideal coverage area for access points I would think.. could be wrong though. That's just a guess.) it would need to prevent abuse as part of the protocol itself, and so I personally would like to see encryption be a requirement for devices to connect-- Not some gutless password based encryption either, I mean PKI-style encryption with issued certificates kind.

    One of the neat things about public/private key encryption is that you can theoretically have multiple public keys to a single private key, which could then be independently enforced.

    The idea is to replace 802.11x (A, B, G, N) straight up, and to make consumer boxes that serve as access points just like wifi routers. For businesses offering complimentary internet, (who wouldnt want to be a free ISP to everyone within 1-2 miles-- and only offer to paying customers) a simple near-feild communication plate built into the counter at the store could supply a time-leased certificate to the device (think really short range bluetooth), giving it permission to access the AP, which would then get revoked after the time elapses. The ability to have multiple public keys per private key would let this work. The business's AP would keep a "pool" of public certs, and would track their use against unique hardware IDs from the connecting devices. (The AP would check that the cert is valid, then check to see who it was issued to-- If the unique ID does not match, no connection.) This would keep people from being repeat customers at a specific place, and eventually having every cert in the pool pushed to their device over time, and then no longer needing to make a purchase to gain access. It would also prevent people from using what is assumed to be a unique public key at the same time somebody else is, and causing problems. (There would be 2 levels of uniqueness-- Unique public key, and unique device MAC. The AP would check both, and decline connection if either is invalid.)

    Certificate checking would be strictly enfoced, but 1:1 correlations between certs and devices would not be, based on how the AP is configured. For people wanting to run "Open" connections, (Equivilent of unprotected wifi), a default certificate set of 1 private key (burned into the AP as part of specification compliance), and 1 public key would be ubiquitous to all devices, and would fascilitate that configuration. The over-air data would still be encrypted, just with this defacto key set. (Useless from a security standpoint because everyone has the keys, but useful from a protocol design standpoint because you can always populate the encryption type feild of the datagram header, even in "open" mode.)

    The ideal situation would allow deployment of user-generated key sets right out of the box, built on strong encryption bit depths---

    It would be the beginning of the open-mesh network everyone seems to want so badly, myself included.

    Given that whitespaces have been enabled for public use, maybe I should order an FPGA kit and cobble together a proof of concept some time...

    I really would like to see a non-profit org created to administer a project like this though. Could even use whitespace spectrum instead of licensing dedicated.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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