Report: WLAN Hotspots to Grow Fast

Wireless hotspots that enable handheld and laptop users to connect to the Internet from public places such as airports, cafes and public libraries will grow rapidly in the next few years, according to a new study released by Allied Business Intelligence.

The hotspots are 802.11b wireless local area networks (WLANs) that are connected to the Internet via some form of broadband. All that’s required for handhelds or laptops to connect to the Internet are wireless LAN adapters, which are becoming increasingly common.

The study predicts that subscriber revenue for access to hotspots will increase to $868 million by 2006 from a negligible $1.1 million in 2000.

One of the reasons for the rapid growth will be the otherwise limited opportunities for fast Net connections for handhelds, the study says. The rapidly growing popularity of Wireless LANs both in enterprises and the home will fuel the growth of wireless hotspots in public places, the study says.

“Hotspots are going to extend the capabilities of LANs to the point where they can seamlessly connect to advanced WANs,” said report author Joshua Wise. “Wireless LANs are going to allow consumers the freedom to use their handheld devices or laptops in a much more powerful way.”

The findings are part of the report: “Wireless LAN Public Hotspots: Assessment of Business Models, Service Rollouts and Revenue Forecasts.”

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