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The first high-speed wireless Internet service for commuters in the U.S. Originally developed by Metricom, Inc. and launched in 1994 at 28.8 Kbps, its speed reached a minimum of 128 Kbps in 1999. However, with some 50,000 customers in 17 cities, Metricom closed its doors in 2001. Its assets were acquired by Aerie Networks and turned into Ricochet Networks with service restored in Denver and San Diego in 2002. A year later, Ricochet was acquired by EDL Holdings, and once again in 2004 by YDI Wireless, which later became Proxim Wireless Corporation. In 2008, Ricochet was shut down.

A MicroCellular Data Network (MCDN)
Ricochet used approximately 100 small "microcell" radio transceivers attached to utility poles within a 20-square mile cell. Each cell had one wired access point with a frame relay connection to the Internet. Ricochet modems attached to laptops via the serial port. See CDPD.

Ricochet System
The microcells "ricochet" signals from the mobile device to other microcells and eventually to the wired access point that connects to the land-based Internet.


(Cellular Digital Packet Data) An earlier low-speed wireless data network used from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s. Based on IBM's CelluPlan II, CDPD transmitted IP packets in the unused voice channels of analog cellular networks at 19.2 Kbps. If all channels were busy, the data were stored and forwarded when a channel became available. Used for police data networks, public safety terminals and telemetry, CDPD modems were available for laptops via PC Cards and for Apple's Newton and Palm PDAs. See DataTAC, Velocita Wireless and Ricochet.

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