Verizon Unwires Businesses

Verizon Communications has announced plans to help small
businesses expand their data networks using Wi-Fi. The Verizon WLAN Solutions
program is launching first in the Boston, MA, area. Eventually, the program
will go nationwide.

Unlike other carriers such as T-Mobile that are building hotspot networks to
work as a compliment to their cellular networks, this service will have Verizon
technicians coming into small or medium-sized business offices to design, install
and maintain wireless networks. These are not public hotspots — though hotspots
are seen by many as inevitable in Verizon’s near future.

Consultations from Verizon on deployment costs are free. Customers will have
a choice of either 2.4GHz 802.11b or the faster 5GHz 802.11a-based products.
All hardware Verizon uses in installations will be from Proxim’s ORiNOCO line.
Verizon is offering a $40 rebate on use of every ORiNOCO AP-500 access point
a customer buys for installation through the end of the year.

Installed networks can be standalone, or Verizon will integrate them with existing
broadband offering such as frame relay or T1 services. Plus, Verizon will monitor
networks remotely, 24/7, over its existing data network.

Verizon recently announced
they would be selling Wi-Fi equipment from Linksys to customers of its DSL service
starting December 1. Verizon does not do installations of the product for home
users, however.

Customers can find details on the small business WLAN solutions at http://multimedia.verizon.com/smallbiz/wirelesslan4/.
Pricing is specific to the installation and depends on number of computers connecting
to the WLAN. A report yesterday from Infonetics pegged
the market for WLAN hardware at $436 million in the third quarter of 2002.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

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