Thursday, August 30, 2007

Solar powered remote WiFi!

News article today about a new start-up selling solar power solutions for off grid applications like WiFi and security cameras.  Solis Energy is the company.

A small US startup has announced technology for running Wi-Fi routers in remote places using only the power of the sun.

Among the first round of products from Solis Energy is the Solar Power Plant, touted as being capable of supplying 12, 24 and 48 Volts DC for use in stand-alone applications such as surveillance cameras and outdoor Wi-Fi.

Comprising a large solar panel connected to a generator unit, the system claims to be able to power such devices for up to seven days without sunlight to recharge its batteries, hence the out-sized panels. In normal use, power stored during the day keeps the system running at night.
They have a couple more interesting things, like a power tap for running wifi routers off street lights.  Cell phone and cable companies better get the lead out or wifi/Voip is going to eat their lunch.  Bring on the fiber optic-to-home installs.

In other news, San Francisco discovers that wifi alone does not a dollar make.

Mayor Gavin Newsom's high-profile effort to blanket San Francisco with a free wireless Internet network died Wednesday when provider EarthLink backed out of a proposed contract with the city.

The contract, which was three years in the making, had run into snags with the Board of Supervisors, but ultimately it was undone when Atlanta-based EarthLink announced Tuesday that it no longer believed providing citywide Wi-Fi was economically viable for the company.

And no wonder.  Get this:

In January, the city agreed to a deal in which EarthLink would have paid the city $2 million for the right to build, install and run a free Wi-Fi network and to partner with Google to provide Internet service. People could have paid $20 per month for a faster connection.

In other words, its hard to make money off "free" internet service when you have to pay two million bucks for the privilege AND pony up all the equipment, installation and insurance etc.  Funny how this San Francisco socialism fails every time its tried.
Better idea, the city steps out of the way and lets private companies rent or buy space to put their routers, and doesn't try to dictate to them how it will all be paid for.  They'd end up with two or three competing wifi providers insead of one monolithic Soviet-style piece of crap.

They'll never do it.  No wifi at all is better than cheaper/faster capitalist wifi.  For the poor.

The Phantom

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