Neither iPhone or OpenMoko are revolutionary

Renaissance Man renaissanceman at
Thu Jan 18 20:11:20 CET 2007

Why do some of you keep non-arguments about WiFi/VoIP without GSM? At  
no point have I said I talked about having WiFi/VoIP without GSM.

And why do you keep making moot points about the technical problems  
of WiFi on a mobile device when many such devices already have it and  
Neo will eventually have it too?

Renaissance Man

On 18 Jan 2007, at 4:53 pm, <thomas.cooksey at>  
<thomas.cooksey at> wrote:

> I work for BT, who have been trying to get WIFI VoIP working for  
> _YEARS_. It's very, very difficult and has lots of problems:
> 1) As several other people have mentioned, the first problem is  
> coverage. A typical access point will only have 50m - 100m of  
> coverage.
> 2) There's no guaranteed RF bandwidth (On GSM you get a dedicated  
> chunk of bandwidth just for you which no-one else can use). On  
> Wifi, everyone shares the available RF bandwidth, which is usually  
> <11Mbs.
> 3) The backhaul network (i.e. the internet) is fairly unreliable as  
> far as VoIP is concerned. GSM networks usually have a circuit  
> switched backhaul like SDH, so again, guaranteed bandwidth. There  
> are IP QoS solutions out there, but there difficult to implement  
> well. Having said all that, it is far, far better than it was.
> 4) Most access points are usually connected using ADSL. The 'A' bit  
> of ADSL is the problem here. VoIP requires a lot of upload  
> bandwidth, which ADSL doesn't provide.
> 5) Most access points have firewalls meaning VoIP has to tunnel  
> through them using HTTP, confusing any backhaul QoS (How can the  
> network tell the difference between your time-critical VoIP call  
> and someone downloading a 4GB DVD image?)
> 6) Again as people have pointed out, a roaming Wifi contract is  
> very, VERY expensive (e.g. £40 per month)
> 7) Power. Even the low power wifi chipsets are very power hungry. I  
> guess you could argue that during a call, GSM draws a fair bit of  
> power but it's nowhere near that of a wifi chipset. GSM actively  
> changes its power output so it only uses what it needs to reach the  
> base station. Although the more advanced Wifi chipsets can also  
> change their power output, it's not done very well and typically  
> only have 3 power settings (including on and off!). I use Marvel's  
> 88W8385 chipset which is designed specifically for mobile  
> applications and have been very disappointed with its power  
> consumption. I guess with a regular Lithium Ion/Polymer phone  
> battery you'd be lucky to get 30 minutes of talk time. When it  
> comes to standby however, the power requirements of wifi don't drop  
> too much whereas GSM drops to almost nothing. GSM Idle really is  
> amazing. All a hand unit needs to do is transmit a short keep-alive  
> every few minutes to let the last station know it's still there.
> Like I say, BT has been working on this for ages and DO have a  
> solution: BT Fusion ( It uses your own  
> home/work access point if your in range, then switches to BT  
> OpenZone access points, then drops to GSM if your not covered by  
> WiFi. I think there's also some magic to move you onto GSM if you  
> move out of range of Wifi DURING a call.
> BTW: I have absolutely nothing to do with Fusion development and am  
> probably wrong about all of its features. This information is my  
> own personal understanding of the technology and is not supported  
> by BT whatsoever.
> Cheers,
> Tom
> -----Original Message-----
> From: community-bounces at [mailto:community- 
> bounces at] On Behalf Of Andreas Kostyrka
> Sent: 18 January 2007 16:05
> To: Renaissance Man
> Cc: community at
> Subject: Re: Neither iPhone or OpenMoko are revolutionary
> * Renaissance Man <renaissanceman at> [070118 12:36]:
>> On 18 Jan 2007, at 10:22 am, Attila Csipa wrote:
>>> On Thursday 18 January 2007 10:01, Renaissance Man wrote:
>>>> The problem with the Nokia E Series, N80s, and Windows  
>>>> smartphones is that they're either very expensive and/or they  
>>>> don't actually make VoIP via WiFi easy.
>>> Why should they risk? They are selling millions of handsets  
>>> through carriers, and they sure don't want to lose those contracts.
>> And, as is often the case, someone else's risk is another's  
>> opportunity.
>> All your arguments against WiFi on the Neo seem a little moot, as  
>> it's pretty clear from what people are saying that it will have  
>> WiFi; it's just a matter of time.
>> I just wish it had been on the first model because I would have  
>> had all my needs fulfilled. As it stands I'm in the market for  
>> something else now, and may even end up with an iPhone if
>> Apple includes VoIP via WiFi before OpenMoko. I wish this not just  
>> for my own selfish reasons but because I'd like to see an open  
>> product like OpenMoko bet out a closed product like
> I don't think so. You seem to have missed the detail, that iPhone will
> be offered this year on one (1!!!!) US network this year. They don't
> even say if it's GSM or not. (Probably.) They have not yet told with
> which networks they intend to cooperate in Europe. Even if it's GSM,
> there is no telling if they will work on other GSM networks:
> *) frequencies are different in the US as in Europe.
> *) the data part of the phone might depend upon network details. E.g.
> a Sidekick won't work on a different network. Well the voice part
> will, because they tend to be not-simlocked, but all the advanced data
> services won't, as the exact configuration is burned into the
> firmware, which is carrier specific.
> So the chances are good that OpenMoko phones will have WiFi before the
> iPhone will be available in the UK are pretty good *g*
> Andreas
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