Wireless rides high

Back in the 1970s, citizens band radios were all the rage. People were putting whip antennas on their cars; some folks even had CB base stations in their homes. My brothers and I drove a beat-up 1963 Chevy pick-up in which a previous owner had installed a combination AM/FM/CB radio. That's cool when you're 16 or 17 years old.

The fad faded, probably because anyone could listen in on the conversations, or maybe those silly "handles" everyone used on the air caused some kind of cosmic "tilt."

It's unlikely that CBs ever will make a comeback, but the desire that fueled their popularity lives on. Whether it is cell phones, hybrid personal digital assistants or tablet PCs, we love wireless.

The point that Staff Writer Doug Beizer makes in his cover story on wireless networks and applications is that it is not just about being cool. Wireless networks, especially as security features have strengthened, have grown in popularity. The key is their ability to move data to where it is needed, unfettered by a connection to a copper wire.

Mobile capabilities are changing the way the government manages its assets, supplies troops and conducts its daily business.

In the State and Local Section, Staff Writer Ethan Butterfield reports predictions that municipal wireless projects will generate billions of dollars in revenue in the coming years. Competition is heating up as cities work to make more services available to their employees and citizens.

If it means better and cheaper government, then let's hope this wireless fad doesn't go the way of the CB. 10-4, good buddy?

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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