Monday, August 09, 2004

My Wireless Networking Wishlist

I have had a Wi-Fi (802.11) wireless network in my home for over 3 years now. My first wireless router cost $250 and I convinced my wife it was necessary for the company I was starting back then. I bought my most recent router (Number 3) for less than $40 online. My current wireless cards (I have two) cost me $30 each and my wireless repeater cost about another $30 - so my whole home wireless set up cost me about half of the price of that first router. It seems that everyone and their brother and their sister has a wireless network (this is evident, when war-driving around both my office and home).

And with the myriad of advancements and consumer electronics with Wi-fi, I still think that there are a lot of products out there to be invented. Since I am publishing these, I hope that you'll give me a royalty if you invent any of them:

  1. Wi-Fi USB Multifunction Capabilities - An earlier pet peeve of mine was that most of the earlier routers that had print server had parallel port print servers, while you had to try really hard to find a new parallel port printer. Finally some manufacturers like D-Link and Belkin have created both routers with USB print servers as well as standalone models. But now a lot of people (myself included) have Multifunction printers. Wouldn't it be great to be able to scan without having to plug in my laptop? Or to use it as a memory card reader? It would be great if they made a device that could simply become a wi-fi USB extension cord.

  2. Wi-Fi cordless phones - Yes I know that companies like Cisco and Pulver have wi-fi SIP phones, but I am not talking about those. What I am talking about is taking a standard cordless phone but making it use Wi-Fi instead of using it's own proprietary format. This way it would reduce the amount of interference between cordless phones and Wi-Fi and, in theory help prevent your neighbors from eavesdropping on your calls.

  3. Wi-Fi music jukeboxes and DVRs - I know that these, in theory, exist already, but we need better, standalone versions. AirPort Express is cute but limited. I want something that will play and store my digital music collection, as well as video.

  4. A Wi-Fi display for my Refridgerator - I know that things like 3Com's Audrey and others were major failures, but I would love to be able to hang a 10.4" wi-fi display on my Fridge and have it display not only the family calendar, but also have it double as a TV with a wireless cable link.

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