- Wireless/Broadband Myths
- The need for Internet Broadband is declining
- Broadband is Everywhere!
- The Weather will block my signal!
- Everyone says wireless networks are unsafe!
- It takes too long to transmit wirelessly.
- Motorola Canopy
- What is a Canopy system?
- How does Canopy technology differ from other broadband services?
- Other wireless technologies such as cell phones sometimes experience inconsistent service e.g., dropped calls. How reliable is the Canopy technology?
- Are Canopys transmissions secured?
- What frequency spectrum does a Canopy system operate in?
- Does the Canopy Subscriber Module or (Customer Premise Equipment) require any special installation knowledge/expertise?
- Since The Canopy product is based on line-of-sight technology, have you encountered significant interference issues?
- Is there any special training required for the end-user?
- Can consumers actually install the Canopy products themselves or are professional installers required for home installation?
- Other Information (Geek Stuff)
- What is a Fresnel Zone?
- Explain decibel and the various parts of it.
The need for Internet Broadband is declining.
This is absolutely not true; there is more demand than ever for high speed connection to the internet, both from the consumer and business end of things. Many people consider email as their primary source of staying in contact. Most companies consider an Internet presence to be almost as important as advertising.
“Broadband is Everywhere!”
Although there is a lot of available broadband in some areas, and many consumers and businesses have the opportunity to pick between T1, Frame, DSL, Cable, and Wireless, there are still a huge number of people without any of the above. A recent report in the New Republic stated that only 12 percent of homes with Internet service use Broadband.
The Weather will block my signal!
Although it has been proven that some weather forms can have adverse affects on radio/transmission waves, however:
- Rain: 5.8 gigahertz signal from the Motorola Canopy will not be affected by less than a full scale Tropical Downpour will not cause any attenuation worth measuring. It probably rains for less than 5 minutes a year in northern climates with anything even approaching this intensity.
- Fog: Although you and I might have a hard time seeing through the thickest fog, the actual density of water vapor and droplets in the air is much less than rain. As a result, it is not a factor.
- Snow/Ice: Although there can be icing issues with some setups and angles, again there is generally not a whole lot of density to snow, and ice buildup on this type of antenna or antenna with reflector is marginal at best.
- Lightning: The Motorola Canopy has a system which shuts the Access Point or Subscriber Module down in the event of repeated lightning strikes, preventing damage. Of all weather conditions, this is potentially the most disruptive, as it can turn off your Internet connection for a short while.
Everyone is saying Wireless is unsafe!
802.11b and its followers 802.11a, 802.11g, etcetera have quite a few security concerns. This is primarily because individual NICs (network interface cards) have been created to work with equipment in this spectrum. As a result of that, almost every NIC has the potential of also becoming a ?Sniffer?. A ?Sniffer? is any device that can see and record all of the conversations going on in a particular medium ? in this case, the air overhead. Most NICs look at every single packet that comes across their medium to see if it is for them, similar to waiting for the U.S. Mail. If the packet or ?letter? is for them, they open it and respond. If it is not, they ignore it. By turning a NIC into a ?Sniffer? (which is a very easy thing to do), it considers all packets as being addressed to itself, and takes a copy. This means that there is plenty of time to then decrypt the data in that packet and see what is inside. As the 802.11 equipment matures, they will continue to add security at a pace hopefully faster than the hackers.
Now for the good news
There are no 5.7/5.8 gigahertz NICs currently available on the market. This means that there can be no Sniffers. Should such a device become available, the Motorola Canopy has an embedded chip which allows only the Motorola Access Point and the Motorola Subscriber Module to talk to each other. A person with a 5.7/5.8 gigahertz NIC would require a copy of this chip, and Motorola has no plans of making it available in NIC form which means breaking apart Motorola Equipment to steal the chip and then playing Mad Scientist to weld/solder/botch it into your 5.7/5.8 NIC. This means that all but the truly dedicated hacker of which there are thankfully few would even be able to do it. This, however, did not prevent Motorola from adding other features such as allowing only known and authenticated Subscriber Modules from talking, and 128 bit encryption on the transmissions above and beyond their own hardware encryption. See Are Canopys transmissions secured? Below.
It takes too long to transmit wirelessly.
There are plenty of wireless technologies out there, and one that most people consider to be a contender with Canopy is 1-way or 2-way satellite broadband. Although both of these technologies are valid for Internet access, there is a significant difference between the two. Radio waves travel at a certain distance per time interval, and although this is relatively fast, it takes a lot longer to go to a geo-synchronous satellite than it does to go to a nearby radio tower. Although not a concern to everyone, this time difference can be as much as 1-3 seconds. This means that the information you are seeing over satellite can be as much as 3 seconds behind real-time. 'Who Cares?' is often the resonse to that information. Well, many Internet applications such as Database Servers, VPN Servers, Online Games, and so forth care quite a bit. There is a term called Lag, or network latency. This latency can mean the difference between an enjoyable experience on the Internet, or a horrible one.
What is a Canopy system?
A Canopy system is based on wireless broadband technology that provides for high-speed Internet access. The Canopy system was designed to provide cost-effective, last mile high-speed data access for residential and business customers who previously were underserved or lived in locations where infrastructure is non-existent. The Canopy system is comprised of three major components: Access Point (AP), Subscriber Module (SM) and the Backhaul Unit). A Canopy system utilizes the unlicensed U-NII bands (5.25 5.35GHz or 5.725 5.825GHz).
How does Canopy technology differ from other broadband services?
Today, virtually every broadband service employs different technologies, e.g., phone lines, coaxial cable, large-cell wireless, satellite. The Canopy system is different from all of these solutions in that it offers affordable, high-speed Internet access to the end-user using wireless communications in the 5GHz unlicensed U-NII band. Compared to other wireless delivery technologies (namely MMDS), the Canopy technology uses a smaller community of cells and involves significantly less network investment.
Other wireless technologies such as cell phones sometimes experience inconsistent service e.g., dropped calls. How reliable is the Canopy technology?
As opposed to the wireless technologies that support the mobility of a cell phone, the Canopy technology is a fixed wireless system. The technology provides a similar user experience to other fixed wireless devices (the users radio experience with reception consistency of a home stereo receiver tuned to a local community radio station or home TV tuned to a local community TV station). The Canopy technology has been rigorously tested for over two years and is currently in customer service with over 40 wireless Internet service providers (and growing) around the country.
Are Canopys transmissions secured?
The term wireless immediately raises questions on the security of the system. Many people have heard the news relating to how insecure wireless is, in particular relating to a type of wireless called 802.11b. The Canopy system’s proprietary air interface provides a strong foundation for a secure wireless experience. Here’s how:
1. The Canopy system is based on a proprietary protocol with no published specifications by which sniffer radios could be built. Also, a sniffer would require the proprietary Canopy chip set that is not readily available.
2. The MAC protocol for packet assembly, disassembly and retransmission is not published.
3. Data transmitted over the air is scrambled into 64-bit data packages for single DES and 128-bit for AES providing an additional obstacle to unauthorized decoding. Although there are some machines that can decipher DES encryptions, it would take those same machines 149 trillion years to decipher an AES-encoded transmission, roughly 7450 times the age of the universe.
4. The directionality of the Canopy wireless transmission impedes eavesdropping through the proprietary air interface.
What frequency spectrum does a Canopy system operate in?
The Canopy system operates in the 5GHz-unlicensed National Information Infrastructure band, commonly called the U-NII band.
Does the Canopy Subscriber Module or (Customer Premise Equipment) require any special installation knowledge/expertise?
No, one of the key attributes of Canopy is the ease of installation of the Subscriber Module (SM). The SM is automatically synchronized with the system once the unit is initialized. The SM can be installed either indoors or outdoors and has an indicator light to guide the optimum location for final installation. In fact, consumers can actually self install the Canopy product.
Since the Canopy product is based on line-of-sight technology, have you encountered significant interference issues?
Since Canopy systems were always intended to operate in an unlicensed band, they were designed from the start to work in interference-riddled environments. In fact, one of the unique characteristics of Canopy systems is their ability to tolerate interference from other sources. The Canopy technology, unlike many of its competitors, does not cause interference upon other components in a Canopy system because of its low carrier to interference ratio of two to three decibels. For example, in order for a signal to interfere with a Canopy signal, it must be at least 50 percent of the strength of the intended Canopy signal to interfere with the throughput of the Canopy system. Some competing wireless technology signals need to be 16 times stronger than the external interference to operate well. For optimal use, line of sight of the receiving tower is recommended. When you have a greater distance from the tower, the amount of 'clutter' in what is called the Fresnel Zone needs to diminish (see Fresnel Zone for more information).
Is there any special training required for the end-user?
No, the Canopy solution is very simple for the end-user to operate and requires no specialized training.
Can consumers actually install the Canopy products themselves or are professional installers required for home installation?
One of the unique benefits the Canopy solution offers is that consumers can actually install the products at home themselves without requiring the services of specially trained installation workers. Consumers can actually control the time for installation and are not required to wait around at home for installers to schedule a home visit.
What is a Fresnel Zone?
(pronounced 'fre-nel' the "s" is silent)
A frequency and range-dependent area of a reflector from which most of the energy of a reflection is returned and arrival times differ by less than half a period from the first break, named for French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel (1788 to 1827). Waves with such arrival times will interfere constructively and will be detected as a single arrival. Subsurface features smaller than the Fresnel zone usually cannot be detected using seismic waves.
In radio communications, one of a (theoretically infinite) number of a concentric ellipsoids of revolution which define volumes in the radiation pattern of a (usually) circular aperture. The area around the visual line-of-sight that radio waves spread out into after they leave the antenna. This area must be clear or else signal strength will weaken.
Calculation of a Fresnel Zone: Radius = 43.3 * Square Root(Distance/(4 * Frequency)).
Example: 10 Mile range using the 5.800 spectrum. Radius=43.3*(SQRT(10/23.2)), or 28.43 feet