CNET News had an article on Friday about a patent that Google has applied for in which it describes an attractive vision of how wireless services might be managed in some… ideal future (“Does not apply in Canada”). The essence of the notion, which hardly seems to be a patentable idea, is that your wireless device would seek out among competing signals that which was the strongest or cheapest or some combination of each and use that signal for the immediate instance of communication. Wireless devices would not be bound in any way to particular service providers, and there would be, in effect, a mini-auction for service at the moment of wishing to connect. It might be that in location A, provider Q would have the strongest signal at an appropriate price, while in location A the user’s device would elect provider Z’s signal as being adequate in strength and offered at the best price.
The money quote from the CNET article is, for me, “Essentially, wireless operators’ networks would be reduced to ‘dumb pipes.'” Sigh.
The curious — and lovers of science fiction — can read the patent application (Does the word “comprise” occur so frequently in all patent applications?) and examine the accompanying diagram (which looks a lot like a model railroad I once used to have), a small version of which appears below.