Metricom’s Ricochet Network Goes Dark — Hard on the heels of last month’s bankruptcy filing, long-range wireless networking company Metricom announced last week that it would be shutting down its 15-city wireless network on 08-Aug-01 and laying off 282 employees. The service, which required a special modem (initially an external box, most recently a PC Card) to communicate with numerous low-power poletop radios, operated at 128 Kbps in all its markets except Seattle and Washington, which were never upgraded past the original 28.8 Kbps. The service was well-liked by its 50,000 users, though the price was high at $75 per month and the company did a lousy job of promoting its technology. Interestingly, the network is up for auction on 16-Aug-01; it’s conceivable that another company might snap it up. Metricom’s Form 8-K offers an illuminating look at just how much these services cost to implement. Going against any comeback of the Ricochet network are the increasingly common public 802.11 wireless Ethernet networks, which offer potentially much higher throughputs and lower equipment costs. [ACE]
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