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  • Case Study - A Wireless Taipei
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What is a wireless city?

Wireless city refers wireless service accessible and available to the entire city. This is achieved by providing Wi-Fi(Wireless Fidelity) networks or the later WiMax networks across the entire city. This concept is made possible due to the decreased in cost of network components and increased bandwidth.

Why wireless city?

Wireless city is intended to bring wireless broadband service across the nation. This is necessary for several reasons.

1) Increased usage of personal computers

A computer without the Internet can only do very limited stuff such as word processing. -Annoymous

With the increased numbers of personal computers in Taipei, it is necessary to have access to the Internet to provide value-added features such as searching the web for information, accessing email, communication with friends and more.

2) Need for mobility

With the rise of virtual office, there is an increased need for commuters to work anytime, anywhere. A wireless city will allow commuters to access their company's network through Wi-Fi/WiMAX anywhere in Taipei.

3) Remote service such as medical/government services

Taipei can leverage wireless technology by providing easy access to numerous services such as medical services or government services. This reduced the need for e-kiosks to be located around the country, instead residence of Taipei can access commonly needed services anywhere.

4) e-learning 

A wireless city can promotes e-learning by reaching out to more users. With more "exposure" to the Internet, residence of Taipei will be better equiped and become more computer-centric. In addition, with proper training, they can leverage on the power of Internet to look for resources as and when needed.

Taipei as a wireless city

Taipei's Wi-Fi system has grown rapidly to become the world's largest, with more than 4,200 antennas and counting. This provides coverage that covers 90 percent of Taipei's population. In addition, with lower rates, Taipei hopes to gain acceptance and adoption of its residence.

Limitation of Wi-Fi / WiMAX

At the moment, Taipei is the world's first and largest wireless city and it has potential to improve wireless coverage. Wi-Fi/ WiMAX cannot be applied to trains and buses. One other possible technology would be 3G cellular network and it provides better coverage and higher connection speed. Also, 3G devices can be attached to laptops for Internet access. Taipei should consider investing in 3G cellular networks too. They may not replace Wi-fi network with 3G, but they can complement 3G network with wi-fi networks. In this way, Taipei can achieve 100% coverage, as a wireless city.

References:

Riyadh Goes Wireless, Taipei Undetered http://www.dailywireless.org/2007/04/09/riyadh-goes-wireless/
Accessed on 13 Nov 2008

National Broadband Wireless Projects http://www.dailywireless.org/2007/01/24/national-broadband-wireless-projects/
Accessed on 13 Nov 2008

'Wireless' Taipei project a world first, mayor says http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2006/09/06/2003326374
Accessed on 13 Nov 2008

World's largest wi-fi having growing pains http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/09/BUGK8P4DCO1.DTL
Accessed on 13 Nov 2008