RealTime IT News

Hotspot Hits for July, 2005

 

·  Wireless Philadelphia has picked three finalists to provide the 135 square mile citywide Wi-Fi network for the city. All include a company doing mesh networking. They are:

·  AT&T working with Lucent and BelAirNetworks

·  HP with Aptilo Networks, Alvarion, Business Information Group and Tropos Networks

·  Earthlink with Motorola Canopy and Tropos Networks

There were 12 proposals, eight of which were complete "turnkey" solutions that got preference. Final decision on the winner will be announced on July 29, then they'll start contract negotiations. One proposal will be held as backup, just in case they can't work things out financially. Construction of the network should start in September.

·  T-Mobile Hotspot is the exclusive Wi-Fi provider at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, and is expanding its coverage there, including 2 million square feet in the new international terminal. T-Mobile says the Wi-Fi at D/FW is gaining in popularity: the number of users has doubled since last year (though they don't say how many users that actually is), and the average time spent online is 40 minutes, up from an average of 28 minutes last year.

 

July 20, 2005

·  A survey of adult computer users in the United States commissioned by Intel reveals that 34 percent have taken a laptop with them on vacation, and that 51 percent are likely to do so in the future. Most use it for personal e-mail, entertainment and trip info gathering, though a very sad 43 percent use it to check e-mail for work when they should be sipping a Mai Tai on the beach. 55 percent said having wireless Internet access is the most valuable feature of a laptop while vacationing, but that's a lower percentage than those that want long battery life (62 percent) and a lightweight laptop (58 percent). Not so coincidentally, Intel is holding a sweepstakes to give away a Centrino-enabled laptop through the end of August.

·  Abbotsford, British Columbia is the home of the first urban hotzone run by WebNet Converged Wireless Network. Using equipment from Radionet and Wi-LAN, the network (when completed) will provide wireless broadband service to 250,000 residents and businesses there, as well as in the neighboring towns of Aldergrove, Mission and Chilliwack. Residents will need customer premises equipment (CPE) to get on the network, but WebNet is betting this is the way to go—it has plans to do similar deployments in 125 more areas in Canada and the U.S.

·  Love Park in Philadelphia, the site of part of the recent Live 8 global charity concert, is the first announced hotzone in a partnership between back-end OSS provider Pronto Networks and Pervasive Services. They launched the Park's network (imaginatively titled "The Cloud") in time for the concert, and will keep it available to anyone in the park or along Ben Franklin Parkway up to the art museum. The hardware is mesh equipment from Tropos Networks. Pervasive is trying to establish its services for user sign-up and community-related applications as the "premier way for cities such as Philadelphia to brand and market their Wi-Fi offering."

The city of Philadelphia, meanwhile, should be announcing its plans for a citywide Wi-Fi provider soon, but costs are already going up—the Philadelphia Inquirer says most of the proposals received call for $18 to $20 million to build the network.

·  Cisco is now offering a 4.9 GHz wireless mobile interface card for the Cicso 3200 Wireless and Mobile Routers, and the cops of Calumet City, Ill. are using them. 4.9 GHz is designated by the FCC for use by public safety, to avoid interference with other WLAN frequencies. Calumet City patrol vehicles will be able to access a wireless intelligence data network set up by the Chicago Police Department for real-time info on crimes in the area. Eventually, the city will move to using the 4.9 GHz signals for running handheld scanners, doing in-vehicle printing of traffic tickets, and even voice recognition for commands. The city has an existing 802.11b infrastructure as well.

·  MuniWireless.com reports that Denver, Colorado has issued a request for proposals (RFP) from a vendor to build a 52 square mile wireless broadband network across the city. It will start out being used for municipal purposes only, then move to public access. Deadline is September 20. The city has to overcome a state law that prohibits municipalities from providing telecom services, but hopefully they have a plan in place.

 

July 18, 2005

·  SITA INC, which specializes in communications and IT for airports, says it has received the $5.4 million contract to install and manage wireless services at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. This will include a distributed antenna system to improve cellular coverage, a neutral host Wi-Fi system for the entire airport that could be utilized by multiple service providers (and used by the city's Department of Aviation (DOA), airlines, and other airport tenants), plus full management by both the DOA and SITA INC. They expect it to be running by the end of 2005.

·  Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. will be a free hotspot as of July 22, called Free Dupont Wireless. The access will serve some 14,000 residents and local businesses, including some museums and embassies. The Internet access is corporate-sponsored by companies like consultants TechAssist, as well as partners like Jurys Hotel, Allied Telecom Group, and the Law Offices of Koltun & King, PC.

·  The Rocky Mountain News says that the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colo., may be one of the first hotspots that's solar powered. The access has been around for three weeks, but was officially launched this weekend by the Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District, which provided the tax-based funding to get LightWave sun-powered access points (with battery backup) from local Lumin Innovative Products, to the tune of $10,000.

 

July 14, 2005

·  Miami-based Wireless Oceans points to a brief in the Miami Sun Post spelling out the WISP's plans to turn the Lincoln Road Mall into a hotspot, priced at $5 per hour, $8 per day, $16 a week or $25 for a month. Subscribers also get access at other Wireless Oceans locations in multi-dwelling units (MDUs) such as the President, Penguin and Marseilles hotels and the Hampton and Continuum condominiums. They also have service in Lummis Park. (Sun Post also named the firm the Best Internet Provider in their Best of 2005 collection).

·  Insystcom, a provider of in-room entertainment systems—on-demand movies, video games, Web browsing, etc.— for hotels and cruise ships, is integrating Wi-Fi into its service offerings. The wireless connection will be made part of its ResortLynx and SeaLynx systems for both existing and new customers. Revenues for using the Wi-Fi connection will be shared by the resort and Insystcom. The system is activated per room by going through the menus on the TV screen, where a user name and password will be issued. That information is then entered on the Web browser on the user's computer in order to gain access.

·  Turns out first responders—cops, firefighters, and emergency medical services (EMS)—see the value of 802.11 wireless networks. In a survey conducted at the Law Enforcement Information Management (LEIM) Section Training Conference and Exhibition in May by PacketHop, 96 percent of first responders called such a network "valuable," and 75 percent said they prefer such networks to use open wireless standards (like Wi-Fi).

 

July 8, 2005

·  Online hotspot directory provider JiWire.com says its latest count of hotspots worldwide is 68,644. Of those, 62,544 require fees to access—only 6,100 are free. Of course, there's lots of freenets that aren't into promoting themselves beyond the local level (networks have to submit their hotspots to directories to get listed, after all), so chances are there's a lot more than that.

·  ICOA launched its 44th marina hotspot through its iDockUSA division this week, this time at the Brickyard Cove Marina of Point Richmond, Calif. Service covers 350 slips and extends to nearby condos and properties -- even the Tradewinds Sailing School. ICOA says iDockUSA provides service at 21,000 boat slips around the country.

 

July 7, 2005

·  Tulsa, Oklahoma's Tulsa Metronet will use Tropos Networks' MetroMesh equipment for citywide wireless, for both residents and businesses. The network will cover 72 square miles, and pricing will start around $25 per month. This was announced by Tropos along with the fact that the company landed 75 other metro deals in the first half of this year, bringing them up to over 200 paying customers. The company believes, based on existing RFPs and other activity, that 220 more cities will probably do metro-sized Wi-Fi networks in the next year.

·  Verizon Wireless will no longer be alone in the U.S. market for 1xRTT EV-DO wireless service. Sprint said today that it's launching "Wireless High-Speed Data" via EV-DO in 200 markets (including 60 metropolitan areas) for completion in 2006, enough to serve a potential market of 150 million people. Service starts this month at major airports, as well as the business districts in 34 markets. Like Verizon, Sprint plans to charge $80 per month for unlimited access, at least for business users -- but consumer pricing could go as low as $40 per month, depending on the location (potentially starting an EV-DO price war). Sprint will also sell Sierra Wireless and Novatel Wireless EV-DO cards for laptops at a discount. Handsets will be announced in the last quarter of 2005.

·  11,000 homes with 28,000 people in the Centre-du-Quebec region of the Canadian province—homes that currently can get only dial-up Internet service—will soon have fixed wireless access. This comes courtesy of mmwave Technologies, which has been contracted by Sogetel to handle the deployment. They plan to start building this summer, and to complete the network by November 2006. Sogetel's fiber network will provide backhaul to towers used for sending out the signal, which will come from equipment built by Airspan Networks.

·  GPS Industries, provider of wireless services for golf resorts, has four new locations in France using its Inforemer Wi-Fi service: Paris International Golf Club, Makila Golf Club, Hotel Golf de Seignosse and Golf de Sainte Maxime. Most are using GPSI's 10.4-inch color units mounted on golf carts, but the Makila is using 5.5-inch portable handhelds. Back in the U.S., GPSI has also installed service at the five-star Timber Ridge Golf Course Country Club in East Lansing, Mich., with 72 golf carts now zooming about with Wi-Fi-capable GPS units, as well as Wi-Fi-based Internet access available to members and guests.

·  Access to FatPort's network of 300+ hotspots in Canada is now available via FatCodes—prepaid FatPort cards being sold at stores like Best Buy, Future Shop, London Drugs and Wireless Wave, all of which are part of the sales channel for InComm's "FastCard" pre-paid cards, FatPort's partner in this retail move.

 

July 1, 2005

·  Globes Online says that the Ben Gurion Airport in Israel now has a hotspot in the new Terminal 3. The service, supplied by Golden Lines International Communication, is free to all—there will even be ongoing telephone technical support. The Israel Airports Authority says similar service will be installed at Eilat Airport in the future.

·  Saskatchewan is getting some 3G wireless (CDMA2000 1X and 1xEV-DO). SaskTel Mobility is installing the network using equipment from Nortel Networks. It should be ready for use by August, just in time for the 20th Canada Summer Games (of which SaskTel and Nortel are sponsors). The games will be hosted in the capitol city of Regina, though the 3G service won't be generally available there or in Saskatoon until later this year.

·  The Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce (GBDe) conference in the Taipei Grand Hotel in Taiwan will offer free wireless service to attendees for sharing information. The network is being installed as part of the global agreement between Lucent Worldwide Services and BelAir Networks, using five BelAir200 multi-radio units.

·  The L.A. Daily News reports that the Santa Clarita Central Park is now a hotspot. 70% of the park is covered by a single access point using a high-gain antenna that cost $7,000 to setup (and will cost less than $300 per month to maintain). The city is using the park as a trial—the location is often a "staging ground" for brush fire emergency crews. The city's goal is to expand coverage over the next fiscal year.

·  Want to get access to the iPass network of 20,000 hotspots across the globe, but don't have an employer footing the bill? SupportNet says that as of today it will offer unlimited use of that network for a flat rate of $50 per month (with a $10 setup fee), if you sign up for a full year. A month-to-month plan that you can cancel any time is $60 per month (plus setup fee). This is in addition to its existing day-rate and per-minute payment plans.

·  The town of Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of one W. Shakespeare (AKA The Bard), is using PDAs and a Wi-Fi network to put on virtual tours of the British locale. The network, called Stratford Unplugged, was setup by BT along with Coventry University, Staffordshire University, Hewlett Packard and the Stratford Town Management Partnership. PDAs are hired from the local Tourist Information Office or Thistle Hotel for #8 a day and provide an interactive map of the area's historic sites, plus Internet access via the BT OpenZone hotspots running across the town. BT OpenZone charges $40 a month or $10 a day or $6 an hour for unlimited access. Stratford Unplugged is expected to run as a trial for one year.

·  The city of Colleyville, Texas, five miles west of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport, is going to do a six-month "wide pilot network" using Wi-Fi and WiMax beginning this month. MeshLinx Wireless of Plano will deploy it, initially to connect the two city fire stations and public works department with the city by covering four square miles with a mesh network. It will work not just for first responders but also for public broadband, including VoIP services.