Monday, July 11, 2005

WiFi In Conflict: Entertainment And Security

This is a quick, informal post to share some thinking I've been exploring about the coming wave of streaming music and video over wireless networks.

We're about to see a major conflict between the current approaches to erecting data wireless networks and entertainment wireless networks. There are a couple of major elements that are jarringly different between the two approaches. With data networks set up as essentially closed systems, heavy security mechanisms make the best sense. But, with entertainment aimed networks, the better paradigm is based on openness.

With WiFi handheld media players and gaming devices, standard definition video players, HDTV sources, stereo music players, and even WiFi based cordless telephones, there will be a need for instant network access, instantaneous node handoffs, and, open access to any number of unpredictable devices that might stroll into the network that will need simple and instantaneous connectivity. Today's closed architecture approach to implementing data networks contradicts each of these needs.

I see a time not far away when the norm will be to have two wireless networks in a home, one for data, and, one for entertainment. There might be some commercial value in the way that's done, so, I'll stop here. But, it's certainly an interesting dichotomy that the WiFi industry is about to be forced to face, isn't it?


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