Networks Breakout Session

Breakout Chairman: Asim Smailagic (

The discussion started with identifying the major attributes of wireless networks: bandwidth, frequency, range, operating system and software support, connectivity, latency, price, base technology, and power consumption. The current wireless networks were characterized in respect to these attributes. The following wireless technologies were analyzed:

A brain-storming session on the opportunities concluded with a two-dimensional diagram mapping the wearable computer applications to bandwidth vs. range coordinates (see diagram). It was also noted if a specific application requires continous 2-way, continous 1-way, intermittent 2-way, or intermittent 1-way communication. Some of the applications are: home control, in-door navigation, health monitor (as bodynet), financial assistant, shared white board, traffic report/ tracking (while in a car), video, teleconferencing, web browsing, access to design files and legacy databases for maintenance, medical images transfer, etc.

The following gaps were identified:

Tough issues:

As homes and small organizations are relegated to low bandwidth connections to the Internet (typically less than 28.8Kbps, or 300 times slower than universities and corporations), we have identified bandwidth as a major bottleneck for the future widespread use of wireless technology. It has been estimated that even low-quality MPEG-1 video at 1.5 Mbps would not be accessible from the home or small business before the year 2001.

Some applications could be considered as driving forces for the future widespread use of wearable computers: