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RealTime IT News

Hotspot Hits for February, 2005

  • Free wireless service surrounds the San Francisco Marina district along four blocks of Chestnut Street, between Filmore and Scott Streets. The service is courtesy of AnchorFree Wireless, the folks behind the hotzone running in nearby downtown Palo Alto.—February 28, 2005

  • Motorola's recently-acquired Mesh Networks division is behind the municipal-use wireless network recently installed in Buffalo, Minnesota, not far from Minneapolis/St. Paul. Police will be using the network for data access (including card swipes of driver's licenses to get instant access to driver info and ability to print tickets), as will up to 40 vehicles in the public works department. The network covers approximately 13 square miles in an area that's arguably among the coldest in the United States. Director of marketing Rick Rotondo says the temperature has hit -43 degrees Fahrenheit since the installation took place, and that the equipment's enclosures have weathered the test. The network was installed by VAR and integrator Scientel America.—February 28, 2005

  • Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.—long a pioneer in providing wireless access to its 6,000 students and 2,500 faculty and staff not just for data but also for voice and even cable TV streams—is doing an infrastructure upgrade which Aruba Networks says will utilize 350 Aruba dual-band 802.11a/b/g access points coupled with 12 Aruba 5000 WLAN switches. They'll be deploying them to replace older Cisco products that are 802.11b-only. Dartmouth says that 90 percent of incoming freshmen have 802.11-enabled laptops when they arrive. The college, which has been running the network as open to all, will be moving to 802.1X authentication for wired and wireless users with this upgrade.—February 28, 2005

    Week of February 21-25, 2005

  • In less than five months, WISP Unwired Australia Pty Limited says it has landed 14,000 users for its non-line-of-sight wireless broadband in Sydney. The 70-node network, which uses Ripwave hardware from Navini Networks, covers 1,200 square miles, giving it the potential to support 3.5 million users. Unwired says using Navini equipment makes it ready to make the move to WiMax when necessary, though that could be a pain: Navini doesn't use standard Wi-Fi, so customers have to buy a modem from Unwired to get online. It costs $34.95 a month for service on the low end (256Kbps).—February 25, 2005

  • In 2003, CalAmp of Oxnard, Calif., created a handheld computing service for the Los Angeles Police Department for beat cops to use at traffic stops and for filing reports remotely. This Portable Officer Data Device System (PODDS) is getting an upgrade: CalAmp is going to make a mobile electronic ticketing system so that officers can scan driver's licenses and instantly get all the info they need on a driver or vehicle, all over 802.11. It won't be deployed until April, so you've got one month to get pulled over in L.A. the old, low-tech way. —February 25, 2005

  • MSGI Security Solutions of New York City says its Innalogic company will be working as an advisor on Wireless Scranton, an initiative to put citywide Wi-Fi in Scranton, Penn. Innalogic, which works with Homeland Security, specializes in deploying networks for first responders. —February 25, 2005

  • The large West Edmonton Mall in (where else?) Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, along with the adjacent Fantasyland Hotel, have installed what they call WEMiSphere Wi-Fi. This hotzone encompasses all 355 guest rooms in the hotel, plus the common areas like the lobby, conference center and dining areas. The Mall's food courts and restaurants (including Café Europa, World Waterpark, and Bourbon Street) are also part of the network. Service isn't free: it costs $11 per day. The wireless equipment is from Chantry Networks, which was recently bought by Siemens.—February 23, 2005

  • AT&T Business Internet Services (ABIS) says its Global WiFi and Wired Ethernet access program for corporate customers is now 10,000 sites strong. This is due to an agreement with hotspot aggregator and remote access provider GoRemote (formerly GRIC), providing access to its established partners. AT&T says it has wireless access at 5,770 sites in the U.S. (including 70 airports) and 3,325 in other countries. AT&T provides a mobile client which handles security, including policy enforcement, firewall provisioning and VPN setup. It will now offer an hourly plan with a daily cap at four hours—in the U.S. it's $5.25 per hour. Other complicated payment plans that require a spreadsheet to understand are listed on the ABIS Web site.—February 23, 2005

  • Airespace—soon to be owned by Cisco —says its WLAN switch and access points are being installed by the UK's Matrix Communications Group at the headquarters of British American Racing in Northants, UK. The Formula 1 racing business' main public areas - including its auditorium—will now let visitors go online with wireless, and will even let them use wireless VoIP services.—February 23, 2005

  • When the brand new University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital opens its 155-bed facility this winter, the building will be unwired. Facility management company Johnson Controls has installed the InnerWireless antenna system so wireless access will be available at all locations in the building, which will include VoIP telephony for nursing staff communications, wireless bedside admission tools, and the ability for patients and visitors to go online with their own Wi-Fi-enabled laptops or PDAs.—February 22, 2005

  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., will be using equipment from Meru Networks to unwire the 170-acre campus. First to get the treatment are dorms and dining halls, plus the schools' new mobile Geoscience labs. They'll spend the next two years installing it until all 2,200 students, faculty and staff can use it. This is HWS's second stab at wireless, after a 2002 deployment ran into problems with interference and overuse in classrooms.—February 22, 2005

  • The Palm Beach Post is saying that Connexion by Boeing was in Atlanta last week showing off a hotspot inside a 737 to Delta Airlines, in hopes of lining up the company as the first U.S. domestic carrier with the in-flight Wi-Fi service. So far, Delta isn't saying if they bought into it or not.—February 22, 2005

  • The Oskaloosa Herald in Iowa says the local library has installed a Wi-Fi hotspot to meet the requests of patrons. Service is totally free to anyone showing up with a wireless device.—February 22, 2005

  • Students at Rice University are building an open-source-based, 1.6 square mile mesh hotzone in the Pecan Park neighborhood of Houston, Texas. The Rice Networks Group, as they're called, worked with the Houston Public Library and the non-profit Technology for All foundation to make the site, which will benefit low-income families in the area. Anyone can apply for access to the network through the library, which also offers a training course. Rice says it has developed a mesh technology called Transit Access Points specifically to handle the multi-hop traffic on the (so far) 12-node network.—February 22, 2005

    Week of February 14-18, 2005

  • El Al Israel Airlines is the latest to sign up to use the Connexion by Boeing in-flight Wi-Fi service. The airline's long-haul 747-700 and 777 aircraft fleet (Boeing planes, of course) will be retrofitted with the system during the second half of 2005, with completion expected sometime in 2007.—February 18, 2005

  • Colubris Networks—which makes the access point equipment used by Connexion—said today that its hardware is also powering the Wi-Fi found in more than 100 marinas on the east coast of the U.S. being served by Beacon Wi-Fi. The company is using them to get the Colubris Multiservice WLAN technology, which allows for multiple virtual network services on the same infrastructure. Beacon uses it to separate traffic for Web surfing boaters from its wireless remote monitoring services to check on boats. They plan to add voice services as well in the future. —February 18, 2005

  • Portland, Oregon's Matrix Networks says it has 76 new hotel properties across the U.S. using its G-WIS (Guest Wireless Internet Access), including various locations of Hiltons, Hampton Inns, Holiday Inns, Courtyards, Homewood Suites, Residence Inns and more. Called the "Hospitality Engine," the service monitors the networks 24/7 for everything from simple user issues to virus activity. Hotel management can also log into a secure Web-based HotelView to get live data on the status of their location's network, which includes everything from the number of users and how much bandwidth they take up to how much spam is blocked vs. e-mail messages actually delivered.—February 17, 2005

  • Connexion by Boeing is the darling of the enterprise hotspot aggregators. The in-flight Wi-Fi service previously announced that users of iPass and GoRemote can roam on its in-flight Wi-Fi service, and you can soon add subscribers to Boingo Wireless as well. As part of the Boingo Roaming System, CoB can and hopefully will be used with no extra charges by the corporate subscribers to Boingo's Platform Services Program (including EarthLink, Infonet, Fiberlink and others) .—February 16, 2005

  • T-Mobile Hotspot will offer broadband service using Wi-Fi on trains in the United Kingdom, specifically those traveling the Southern Rail express route between Brighton and London. The service will be in free trials starting in March, though only on a limited number of trains. The network, run by Nomad Digital, will utilize a wireless broadband backhaul system from Redline Communications, using the company's pre-WiMax equipment running along the tracks every three kilometers for a total of 90 kilometers. T-Mobile has 700 hotspots in the UK—not including 16 stations along the London/Brighton line that will have service starting in March— and charges 20 pounds a month for unlimited use. That price will also include the train service when it officially goes live in May.—February 16, 2005

  • The La Defense subway station is the second-largest transportation hub in Paris, France, where almost half a million people every day show up to take taxis, subways, buses, and trains. The staff of the Paris Subway (RATP) are now using Wi-Fi-based PDAs connecting to a Cisco infrastructure to keep up with the timing of vehicles and groups of passengers as traffic moves in and out the station. The network was installed by RATP subsidiary Naxos, and uses a software platform from Appear Networks of Sweden to make it "context-aware" for employees. They call it a "workspot." The network is also used by everyday travelers as a plain ol' hotspot for getting on the Internet.—February 16, 2005

  • Speaking of France, golf course HSIA provider GPS Industries is moving into that country, installing its Wi-Fi/global positioning combo system called InForemer at two of the country's golf resorts, the Hotel Golf de Seignosse (with 48 golf carts equipped with Wi-Fi video monitors) and Golf de Sainte Maxime (with 65 carts equipped). France has 500 golf courses, and GPSI has its eye on all of them, having acquired a European office and a local distributor.—February 16, 2005

  • The Times of Malta says the InterContiental Malta is that country's first fully wireless hotel, with Wi-Fi in every room and common area—a network homegrown by the hotel's 24-year-old IT manager, who even designed the Wi-Fi billing system.—February 15, 2005

  • Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) has added Connexion by Boeing in-flight Wi-Fi service to flights in and out of Seattle, Wash. traveling daily to Copenhagen, Denmark. It's a route they call "one of the most frequented 'gateway' routes to Europe from the Pacific Northwest." Users pay a flat rate of $30 to get access to the Web and e-mail on their laptops for the entire flight (or they can pay $10 for a half hour, then 25 cents per minute thereafter). The only other airline with flights using Connexion by Boeing Wi-Fi in and out of the US is Germany's Lufthansa, but it has it on long-haul flights out of 13 cities including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and more.—February 15, 2005

  • Wayport's latest: the Harvey Hotel at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport will be utilizing the company's HSIA in all 506 guest rooms and 37,000 square feet of meeting rooms. Most will be wired, but wireless access will be found in the lobby, lounges and restaurants.—February 15, 2005

  • Hotspot aggregator iPass said today it is working with 802.1X authentication provider Meetinghouse to improve the ways 802.1X is used for remote access by mobile enterprise network users. Specifically, the AEGIS client from Meetinghouse, used to authenticate with a wireless network, will now be iPass-compatible. The two will also be working to make sure EAP-TTLS is used to secure mobile network users.—February 15, 2005

    Week of February 7-11, 2005

  • The Merchandise Mart at 350 W. Mart Center in Chicago is called the world's largest commercial building. Now the 18,000 visitors who go there every day can go online, as it is now also SBC's largest hotspot (in that city, at least). They'll cover all the common areas and meeting rooms on the first two floors with the FreedomLink service, as well some other floors. In total, 26 access points have been installed. SBC DSL customers can still try FreedomLink for $2 a month until May 31 (with a one-year commitment). Non-SBC customers can use it for $8 a day or $20 a month. —February 11, 2005

  • Wardriving for credit: students at the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) in Tempe, Ariz., are scouring the greater Phoenix metro area for accessible networks. Armed with GPS, a laptop with wireless card and an antenna, students will wardrive the Valley of the Sun to see how many new APs pop up over a passing year. It's a demographic experiment, to see what areas embrace wireless for business or home networks. The data will (as is the keeping of true wardrivers) be used to promote the need for wireless security in the area. A research paper on the topic should be ready for the TechnoSecurity Conference and others this year. —February 10, 2005

  • Washington D.C.'s recently-restored landmark hotel, The Madison, just blocks from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is the latest to add wireless HSIA from StayOnline. Service is not available in guest rooms, but is found in the 10,000 square foot meeting space plus the lobby and other public areas. —February 10, 2005

  • The non-profit provider OneCleveland—the "ultra broadband" community network that provides wireless at Case Western Reserve University and areas of the city of Clevland—has signed up eight new customers. They include MetroHealth System, which operates a 731-bed teaching hospital as well as 10 community health sites in Cuyahoga County; ideastream, which runs the local public TV and radio stations; the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Institute of Art; Western Reserve Historical Society; Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, the non-profit Cleveland Public Art; and the local community college which has 55,000 students attending each year. Those closest to University Circle are already online, while the rest will launch over the coming year. Work is also underway to unwire several Cuyahoga County Public Library locations.—February 8, 2005

  • JiWire says, according to its online database of hotspots, wireless Internet access is available at more hotels and resorts than any other kind of venue—even coffeehouses! There are 16,674 hotels & restaurants listed in the directory (up from 9,000 last summer), compared to 9,718 restaurants and 8,842 cafés.

    Think that counts cruise ships? Hidden in a press release this week touting the new Carnival "Fun Ships," which are 31 percent larger than their predecesors, Canival Cruise Lines said that the new Miami-based, 2,974-passenger "Carnival Valor is the first cruise ship to offer '100 percent bow to stern' Wi-Fi capabilities, complementing the line's fleetwide Internet cafes and Wi-Fi services." —February 8, 2005

  • Beijing, China's ShiJinShan district is getting wireless broadband. Called the Wi-Plus Network, it will be set up using "pre-WiMax" cell architecture equipment from Adaptix. It's expected to provide wireless infrastructure to key places in ShiJinShan, including government buildings and the Entertainment Demo Center. The network is being set up by Beijing Airway, Beijing University of Post & Telecom, and the ShiJinShan District Government.—February 8, 2005

  • The Register says that BroadReach Networks has beat out Swisscom to provide wireless service at 43 roadside stops. Moto, which operates the motorway area stops, says it went with BroadReach's ReadyToSurf service because it supports a joint wired/wireless approach. BroadReach has over 350 hotspot locations in the UK, including those in Virgin Megastores and Travelodge hotels.—February 8, 2005

  • Verizon's Verizon Avenue subsidiary, which provides communications for MDUs and rural areas, is buying about 2,300 BreezeAccess "pre-WiMax" units from Alvarion to provide high-speed Internet at the communities at the former Fort Ord in Moterey, Calif., and throughout the Monterey Peninsula. This is part of a project run by the DoD to "modernize military housing across the United States," according to the company.—February 7, 2005

  • Washington D.C.'s own WISP, DC Access, said last week that it would be installing a free hotspot at the H Street Playhouse at 1365 H Street NE. "People can check mail or browse the Web while waiting for the show to start," says the theater. Other hotspots they run include World Cuisine on 8th Street and the Open Park project that provides outdoor service near the Supreme Court. —February 7, 2005

  • Cingular will be offering the quad-band GlobeTrotter COMBO EDGE data card with flip-out antenna from Belgium's Option N.V. to users that want to get access to Wi-Fi, GPRS, and EDGE networks without having to swap hardware. The card will be branded as a Cingular product. —February 7, 2005

    Week of January 21-February 4, 2005

  • ICOA has signed a three-year extenstion to the contract that lets them run the hotspots provided by the Panera Bread chain—a service Panera provides for free to customers at 600 bakery/café locations, even with customer support.—February 3, 2005

  • The Eurostar high-speed train between Paris, London and Brussels is doing brisk business after ten years, and to keep customers happy, Eurostar is installing Wi-Fi hotspots not only in departure lounges (in the Paris Gare du Nord terminal and in London's Waterloo and Ashford terminals; Brussels will follow soon), but will also be trying it soon on the train itself. All the trains are being refurbished to make sure passengers have plenty of power outlets for phones, PDAs and laptops while they travel.—February 3, 2005

  • Attingo B.V., which provides the Internet connections for the public at the Amsterdamn Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands, is partnering with iPass to make sure iPass subscribers can roam freely on the airport's wired and wireless infrastructure when traveling. Attingo projects that out of 40 million passengers passing through the airport, 800,000 people will use the hotspot this year, spending an average of 30 to 40 minutes online.—February 3, 2005

  • TeliaSonera says it is the first non-Japanese hotspot provider to sign a roaming deal with NTT DoCoMo. Subscribers to TeliaSonera's HomeRun service in Sweden and Norway can get access now to the 500 Mzone hotspots in Japan, with HomeRun users from Finland getting access in about a month. The Japan National Tourist Organization says over 43,000 people from the Nordic countries visited Japan in the first ten months of 2004, so it can't hurt. —February 2, 2005

  • More roaming, this time in Canada and specifically targeting Voice over IP users: subscribers to VoIP service by TeliPhone can now use the 70 hotspots in Quebec and Ontario run by Eye-In Wireless. Eye-In expects to expand into the rest of the country and the United States over the next year. They'll be part of a marketing campaign by TeliPhone that will highlight hotspots to get users less dependent on cellular coverage. —February 2, 2005

  • Missed this last month... Canada's Ottawa Airport Authority announced Wi-Fi access throughout its passenger terminal, even out to the arrival and departure curbs. The network was mutually installed and is operated by BOLDstreet Wireless and airport-only provider Concourse Communications. —February 2, 2005

  • Research firm In-Stat says a survey reveals that the future for in-flight WLAN Internet access is bright, considering that 44 percent of participants are interested in trying it, and more than half are willing to pay a premium for it. It would be nice if domestic airlines could stay solvent long enough to install such services... —February 2, 2005

  • Skyy-Fi says its largest hotspot to date is live at the Ramada Inn in Norwalk, Calif., a hotel with over 500 guest rooms. The company now has 26 total hotspots in various cafés, restaurants and car wash locations, but says the success of the Ramada deployment means it will now "concentrate on marketing to the hospitality industry." —February 1, 2005

  • Leading the way in the hospitality hotspot area is Wayport, which today said it's adding three new "European-style boutique properties" to its always-growing list of lodging locations with high-speed Internet access (HSIA), all owned by Ireland's Fitzpatrick Hotel Group: Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel with 92 guestrooms, Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel in New York with 155 guestrooms, and Fitzpatrick Chicago Hotel with 143 guestrooms—Wi-Fi access is in all rooms, lobbies, restaurants and lounges, with wired access along with the Wi-Fi in meeting rooms. —February 1, 2005

  • Research and Markets, a research firm in Dublin, Ireland, has a new report covering the tariffs on Wi-Fi access throughout Europe. Compiled as of last June, and covering 115 providers in 27 countries, the data shows that prices are starting to decline in Europe (especially in the previous six months), but still remain high compared to Asia and the United States. The average price for 24-hour access is $17.32 (or 14.02 Euro)—only 42 percent of the providers offer a 24-hour option, and 67 percent of all the hotspots in Europe are controlled by telcos. And so much for competition: there's no relationship that appears to exist between having more players in an area and having low prices. Cheapest country: Portugal. Most expensive: Germany.—February 1, 2005



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