RealTime IT News

Hotspot Hits for March 26, 2004

  • The Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Washington, says the city of Pasco is delivering Wi-Fi to citizens now, courtesy of an antenna on top of a building at Columbia Basin College. This is the first antenna installed by the Franklin PUD power utility; it has a reported range of 1.5 miles. The backhaul is provided by the Franklin PUD's own fiber optic network. There are already three WISPs signed up to provide services through the antenna, with others in the final approval stages; some are listed here . Service will be provided to businesses and homes, with speeds of 128Kbps up to 1Mbps. -- March 26, 2004

  • The president of the Austin Wireless City Project in Austin, Texas, reports that last night the City of Austin announced at a meeting that it's joining the AWCP in providing free Wi-Fi access in city-owned buildings and parks. Among their first announced venues are the new city hall (once it's finished), Republic Square Park, and the Palmer Auditorium Shores park near the performing arts complex. AWCP president Richard MacKinnon (of local provider LESS Networks ) says they stand out because of the city becoming a supporter and participant -- not something you see with free-net Wi-Fi deployments in other big cities. -- March 25, 2004

  • Customers of French mobile telecom Orange will soon have access to 8,000 hotspots via TOGEWAnet's WeRoam service. They'll get access via SIM authentication-- a standard for accessing cellular wireless networks in Europe. The company plans it as a compliment to its existing GSM and GPRS mobile networks. -- March 24, 2004

  • Bellsouth , which started trials of a wireless broadband service in the Port Orange area of Daytona Beach, Florida, in January is expanding to a new trial in that states town of Palatka. The trial is using RipWave products from Navini Networks, some of which they moved from Daytona. The technology is meant to extend broadband to customers that can't get Bellsouth DSL. Bellsouth says it is "testing new features and capabilities" in this trial such as using Wi-Fi components at the user end to supply connections to PCs. The Palatka trial is up and running and will go for six months, providing access to local businesses and schools including a community college. -- March 24, 2004

  • According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network in Illinois has received a grant of $200,000 from investor George Soros's Open Society Institute to test a one-square-mile wireless hotzone (not using Wi-Fi again though -- users connect in their homes or offices though another gateway that can connect to the local network). Users are asked to donate monthly to use the service. Right now the network has only a few access points setup, but expects to have up to 50 nodes mounted on buildings through the next year. -- March 24, 2004

  • BelAir Networks is a company that makes equipment that is mounted outside using 802.11a (or other technology in the future, maybe even WiMax) for backhaul while providing 802.11g/b to clients. It said today that BelAir200 products are being used to create hotzones in three different towns to provide municipal-use wireless: West Des Moines, Iowa (for use by the Department of Transportation); Show Low, Arizona (for first responders and public works vehicles); and Lincoln, Nebraska (to interconnect city offices).

    In other good news for BelAir, T-Mobile Venture Funding is throwing $2 million into the company. No word on if this means T-Mobile Hotspots will someday use BelAir's mesh equipment, which is unlikely since T-Mobile Hotspot locations (Starbucks, Borders, Kinkos, etc.) are known for having T-1 lines for backhaul and using Cisco equipment.

    Speaking of, perhaps you'll sleep better at night knowing that T-Mobile's use of that Cisco equipment has earned them a Cisco Powered Network designation. The two companies will now have a joint marketing relationship through this. -- March 23, 2004

  • Boingo Wireless continues to announce roaming agreements. The latest are with ICOA's Airport Network Systems (ANS), which is used at regional airports in the US, including locations like Sacramento, and Savannah/Hilton Head, and Baton Rouge; and another deal with Truckstop.net , which will add 500 road-side hotspots to the Boingo footprint.

  • Spokane in eastern Washington state is claiming (like so many others) to be building the "nation's largest city-wide wireless network." The city and its Downtown Spokane Partnership organization are working with vendors like wireless switch vendor Vivato, mobile system maker Itronix, and broadband provider One Eighty Networks to create an initial 100-block hotzone service in the downtown area. It will be used by city workers and first responders, and will also be open to public access to the Internet (no word on cost). The network will eventually expand from downtown to include the airport, University District, South Hill medical complexes, and the Veterans Memorial Arena. -- March 23, 2004

  • Starwood Preferred Guests that stay three nights at any Four Points by Sheraton hotel locations in the US or Canada between April 1 and May 28 of this year, you can get a free Linksys Wi-Fi card. They don't say whether its 802.11b or 11g... but hey, it's free! -- March 23, 2004

  • Fourteen hotels across North America run by Millennium & Copthorne Hotels -- such as the Millennium Knickerbocker in Chicago and the Millennium Broadway and UN Plaza in Manhattan-- will be going wireless (and wired with Ethernet) courtesy of Teledex , a long time provider of phone systems for businesses and the lodging industry. It will put the Teledex ExpressNet high-speed service in 2000 guest rooms (wired) and will reserve the Wi-Fi connections for public areas like lobbies and restaurants. Millennium hotels are also located in Los Angeles and Cincinnati. -- March 22, 2004

  • Los Altos, Calif., based DotSpot Wireless is a new company planning to launch a wireless ad server with built in access point which it will sell to any business with a broadband connection. The venue owner pays for the setup, but (in theory) makes the money back by showing off the network's 150x160 pixel ads (static or Flash-based) that customers must view as they surf. One of the first DotSpot locations is the Car Spa in Newport Beach -- DotSpot wants to target automotive businesses such as car washes, oil changers, and repair shops where people can use the access while they wait. -- March 22, 2004

  • Customers of Wificom Technologies of Helsinki, Finland using its SAB Server backend WISP service, can now easily join the Boingo Wireless Roaming System. The two companies have entered an agreement to integrate their authentication servers, making it easy for SAB Server users to become part of Boingo's virtual network. Billing information goes securely from one system to the other, making it possible for Boingo subscribers to roam onto hotspots using Wificom's technology. The service is up and running at 167 hotspots in Brazil that use SAB Server. The Boingo compatibility will be a standard feature going forward. -- March 22, 2004

  • It's official: Cerritos, Calif., has opened up its metro-scale hotzone as of today. The network was installed by Aiirmesh Communications (formerly Aiirnet), which has been working on this project since we first spoke with them months ago. It was installed using equipment from Tropos Networks. Wi-Fi connections are available to all, from consumers to government to businesses, even mobile users. Aiirmesh is offering different subscriber packages, though only the hourly/daily/monthly plan for mobile users is active; home and business plans are in a "pre-subscription" sign-up phase. The city itself will be one of the biggest customers, and will provide Internet access to many city employees using the service. -- March 22, 2004

  • The Las Ventanas al Paradiso Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, joins the world of hotspots this week. The venue had provider Hotspot International install Nomadix Hotspot Gateway equipment, which is controlling high-speed wired Internet access and Wi-Fi access across the property. -- March 22, 2004

  • Another hotel hotspot: the Eaton Hotel Hong Kong in China, run by Langham Hotels International. Inter-Touch of Singapore is running the network, which Wi-Fi enabled guests can access for $125HK for two hours of use after purchasing a pre-paid card. -- March 22, 2004

  • Mesh network product maker Strix Systems held a contest to see what was the most Ethernet Unfriendly Building -- they're going to put in a wireless mesh network there, just to prove how easy it can be. The winner for February? The Central Texas Parole Violator Facility in San Antonio. The site was suggested by Houston-based provider DataScan Technologies, which claims the center as a customer. The facility wants wireless security cameras and other applications, but found it "expensive or even impossible to run" cable. Strix will provide 20 of its Access/One mesh nodes for installation in the building... all in hardened enclosures, just in case the hardened criminals inside want to take a swipe at them. -- March 22, 2004