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The latest in public access Wi-Fi: airports in Phoenix, Grand Rapids and San Luis Obispo add Wi-Fi; Maine looking to go statewide with wireless; Carlisle, PA owes hotspots to student request; and more.
[December 22, 2005]

The latest in public access Wi-Fi: airports in Phoenix, Grand Rapids and San Luis Obispo add Wi-Fi; Maine looking to go statewide with wireless; Carlisle, PA owes hotspots to student request; and more.


(www.wi-fiplanet.com)
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is now offering free Wi-Fi service, installed by the city council and airport officials. The signals are found in retail areas, on either side of the security cordon, and near the gates. Installation took about a year, and cost about $200,000 to hook up 40 access points.



Speaking of airports, ICOA Airport Networks has expanded into airports number 26 and 27: Gerald R. Ford International Airport of Grand Rapids, Michigan (second busiest in the state), which has free access for surfing in all passenger areas, and San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport on the central coast of California. No word on charges there.

Nortel and Option say they have successfully tested an HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) data card (with a Qualcomm chip) on a test network in Ch teaufort, France to get a data transmission rate of 3.6Mbps. HSDPA, an upgrade to current UMTS networks, is a competitor with 3G services like EV-DO, and maybe even Mobile WiMax (which promises to be faster, but is still a couple of years away).


December 21, 2005

Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a story saying that the state of Maine might be looking at being the first to go statewide with a wireless network. The governor is proposing that a service be installed by the year 2010 to cover 90 percent of the communities there with more than five people per square mile. It's part of the Connect Maine initiative that also would provide statewide cellular phone coverage by 2008.

The city of Diamond Bar, California is the first to implement the NextZone Connectivity Solutions of NextPhase Wireless , which combines Wi-Fi with Broadband over Power Line (BPL) and structured cabling. The service is for city officials only while they attend meetings at city hall.

PennLive.com says the city of Carlisle, Pennsylvania owes its limited downtown hotzone service in three restaurants to a proposal made by a 15-year-old high school student who wanted to surf the Web while downtown on North Hanover Street. The service was set up by PA.Net of Mechanicsburg. If it sees a lot of use, the network could be expanded into other businesses downtown, at no expense to the venues. The WISP also has Wi-Fi service at the Bosler Memorial Library.

The regional Manchester Airport in Great Britain and its service provider Telindus are using a Trapeze Networks WLAN Mobility System to provide Wi-Fi services to the public and operations personnel of the busy airport. The public service is "in association with T-Mobile," so any T-Mobile Hotspot subscriber can get access at any point in the terminals where signals are available. T-Mobile access is also available at at Nottingham East Midlands, Bournemouth and Humberside airports, which are all run by Manchester Airports Group.

NEC Infrontia of Japan is using Proxim Wireless equipment a specially-designed version of the ORiNOCO AP-4000 access point supporting Japanese frequency bands to unwire all the locations of two major retail chains in that country. The network will be used to put in hotspots plus point-of-sale features for the retailers. The total number of APs needed will run up to 20,000 access points. No word on who the retailers are, or what, if anything, they'll charge shoppers for access.

Rioplex Wireless of south Texas has installed a 5,000 square mile broadband wireless network there using BreezeACCESS VL products from Alvarion. The network is built on licensed radio frequencies Rioplex owns it all, even down to the last mile. Target audience for the service is businesses and "high bandwidth consumers," according to the company.

It wasn't enough to put wireless service throughout the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place's 800 rooms in Chicago. Now Chicago's Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) is expanding that service which uses IP3 Networks' NetAccess equipment to cover the entire McCormick Place convention center and historic Navy Pier. Total size of the network is about 6 million square feet along the Lake Michigan shore. The network will support 3,000 simultaneous users.

December 16, 2005

The city of San Francisco has narrowed down the choices to five companies to provide the wireless network for its citywide TechConnect iniatitive . They are: EarthLink, Google, HP, MetroFi and Skytel/MCI. All would provide open access for all providers, except for SkyTel/MCI; most would also provide free access in parks and public spaces, though MetroFi and Google would be free throughout the city, albeit at limited data rates. 26 companies replied to the request for proposal (RFP), though only the five above were complete turnkey proposals with all the details. Others included Cisco, AnchorFree and Cingular.

NextPhase Wireless says it has extended the reach of its pre-WiMax wireless broadband network into Riverside County and San Bernardino County in California. The company recently bought Blazen Wireless, and is on track to provide service to as many as 135,000 potential southern California customers this year. They charge $299 for T1-like service, and claim they can get things installed in less than five days after an order is placed.

December 15, 2005

The big bookstore chains love to provide for-fee Wi-Fi. Here's the latest openings (with a preponderance of them in Texas): Barnes and Noble has new locations at (or coming next year to) Highland Village, Texas (near Dallas/Fort Worth); another in Dallas itself; at Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave, Texas (near Austin); Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Carle Place, New York on Long Island; Fenton, Missouri; and Williamsburg, Virginia. All will feature SBC FreedomLink Wi-Fi service for $4 for two hours or $20 a month. Borders Books & Music, meanwhile, is opening a store near NASA's Johnson Space Center in Baybrook, Texas, as well as in Scottsdale, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Everett, Washington; Suwannee, Georgia; and, coming in 2006, a new store in New York City's Two Penn Plaza. Borders' Wi-Fi is courtesy of T-Mobile Hotspots . Cost is $6 per hour, $10 per day, or $40 for month-to-month service.

France Telecom-owned mobile carrier Orange is ready to go Wi-Fi, planning a hotspot network for businesses that will combine the use of 802.11, 3G and GPRS technologies to give laptop users access to the Internet. The network is actually provided by partner BT OpenZone, which has about 12,000 hotspot locations in Europe. Cost is 6 an hour, and is accessed by using a username/password combination received by text message. Wi-Fi service will launch on Dec. 19, with a Business Everywhere package targeting mobile workers to follow by January 2006.

Lee County in Georgia is planning a major wireless initiative across the county using pre-WiMax equipment installed by service provider Camvera Networks of Dunwoody, Georgia. The network will provide broadband for residents and businesses, as well as first responders and county personnel, even in areas without DSL or cable. The service is called Camvera Connects , and is a public/private partnership. It should launch in February 2006. As of the 2000 census, Lee County had a population of just under 25,000 people; it covers 362 square miles.

December 13, 2005

Boulder City, Nevada is the latest city on the municipal mesh wireless bandwagon. It's working with Triad Wireless to install a dual network, using 4.9 GHz for public safety mesh and 5.8 GHz for mesh backhaul, with equipment from SkyPilot Networks . Triad bases its 4.9GHz S.P.I.R.I.T. (Secured Public Integrated Radio Infrastructure Technology) system on equipment from SkyPilot, saying it provides "improved performance and carrier-class reliability." The city expects to use the 4.9 network for everything up to video surveillance transmission in the 45-mile circumference around the city.

More additions to the Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess network: the Memphis Tennessee area now has EV-DO in Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Cordova, Germantown, Horn Lake, Kerrville, Lakeland, Millington, Olive Branch, Rosemark, Southaven and West Memphis.

Is it possible there's a location in Korea without wireless? Apparently, there was one in the Suncheon train station. But Air Broadband Communications had one of their Airobatics WLAN switches installed there, and fixed that problem.

SmartVideo's video on demand service will soon be available at all 1,500 hotspots operated by ICOA , including the LinkSpot and iDock locations in RV parks and marinas, respectively. This isn't the first deal for SmartVideo at hotspots it has deals with HotPoint Wireless , Wireless Oceans , and even Pronto Networks as part of its UniFi Digital Communities Grid program as well.

Wayport's latest hotel with broadband: the Doubletree Hotel Bellevue in Seattle near the Meydenbauer Convention Center now has 353 guest rooms and 28 meeting rooms with high-speed Ethernet, and Wi-Fi in all the public areas.

5G Wireless continues to line up higher education customers for its cellular-like Wi-Fi service. The latest is Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York -- one of the many colleges in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. 5G hopes this will be a testbed to get them into the other 63 schools in the system. Westchester will cover its 218-acre campus using a single base station on a roof and a few indoor units.

December 12, 2005

Verizon Airfone says that if it wins the auction next year of 4 MHz in the 800MHz RF band from the FCC, it can have services like CDMA and Wi-Fi in airplanes by 2007. The company got permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to install Wi-Fi equipment in June of this year. However, WiFiNetNews points out that other contenders include AirCell , Connexion by Boeing and OnAir . Airfone already uses the 4MHz in question for its in-flight phone service, but would have to cut back to 1MHz if someone else wins.

The Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess and VCAST services, running on high-speed EV-DO (Evolution Data-Optimized), are coming to more towns in Virginia: Norfolk, Newport News, Portsmouth, Hampton and Poquoson; the northern portions of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Suffolk; and parts of Williamsburg, York County and James City County. This brings the number of metro markets up to 171 cities plus 69 airports.

December 9, 2005

A hearing will be held on Monday Dec. 12 at 1pm PT by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for the public to give input about TechConnect, the city's proposed Wi-Fi network. Go give your two cents.

The Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg said earlier this week that it's using two Vivato base stations and ten microcells in buildings to cover the campus with Wi-Fi, the first Penn State U to do so.

Airspan Networks has been working with BEC Telecom S.A . in the Dominican Republic to cover that country's rural areas with broadband, part of the Rural Public Telephony Phase II Project to reach 1,750 communities in 18 provinces there. BEC-TEL is using Airspan cellular and point-to-multipoint radios, and will be doing field trials with Airspan's WiMax/802.16-2004 equipment when available.

December 7, 2005

The city of Portland, Oregon, already one of the most unwired cities around, is shooting for citywide Wi-Fi. The Oregonian said this week that finalists for installing and operating the network, called Unwire Portland, are down to three: EarthLink (the big winner already of Philadelphia), MetroFi (who this week also announced it would do free Wi-Fi for the 130,000 residents of Sunnyvale, Calif.), and local company VeriLAN . Portland's network will provide broadband for residents and businesses, and it will also be used by the municipality for emergency services and data collection on things like parking meters. All three vendors expect to charge about $20 a month for access, but will offer options for lower-income users: either half-price, free service with lower speeds (VeriLAN), or free service with ads (MetroFi that's how they're doing it free in Sunnyvale, or you can pay the $20 a month there to avoid the ads).

MobilePro's NeoReach division which got bumped out of the running for Portland has plenty going on to keep it busy. This week, it announced that the City Council of Farmers Branch, Texas has asked it to install a Wi-Fi network to cover the 12 square mile town. The company also revealed that it's using Pronto Networks UniFi Managed Services to control its wireless networks, starting with the recently-launched Tempe, Arizona hotzone. NeoReach uses Strix Systems hardware in its deployments.

Ugliest rumor in the Wi-Fi grist mill this week is that BellSouth has withdrawn an offer to build a new police headquarters building for the city of New Orleans all because New Orleans wants to build a free Wi-Fi network. According to the Washington Post report, it depends on who you talk to, as the city says the withdrawal happened, but BellSouth says the offer is still on the table. BellSouth, however, has a habit of fighting muni networks in Louisiana.

Airpath's WiBOSS Lite product specifically used by providers that don't want to charge customers for Wi-Fi access is powering hotspots in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, at City Hall Common and the Union Station transportation center.

Nortel says it's in the process of installing the first WiMax network in Canada. It's working with the Alberta Special Areas Board and WISP NETAGO Wireless to make sure rural areas get the 3.5GHz-based fixed wireless broadband service. Once it's complete in the summer of 2006, they expect it to cover 8,000 square miles (21,000 square kilometers) in the southeastern part of the province.

Quiconnect is helping extend access for Sprint Nextel hotspot users. Now, travelers can get on 800 hotspots operated by PT Wi-Fi in the country of Portugal, and Sprint is also going to use the virtual network access that Quiconnect lined up with Hub Telecom throughout France earlier this year.

JiWire reports that, according to their database of hotspots, there are 92,474 active sites worldwide so, considering all those that don't bother to get listed, we're probably well over 100k. South Korea has the most after the US (32,350) and the UK (12,608), but Seoul moved up the list past London to become the number one city with 1,918 hotspots all by itself. With numbers like that, who needs citywide Wi-Fi?

The new Hard Rock Hotel San Diego in the city's Gaslamp Quarter will be designed for jet-setting rock stars who can afford the suite rooms in the condo hotel. A night will start at $400, but each room has the following: "state-of-the-art lighting, an ultra-tech entertainment center featuring an LCD television, CD/DVD and iPod connections, a martini bar, plush feather-top bedding, an oversized workstation, Wi-Fi Internet access and a laptop safe." Martini bars and laptops make a great combination, don't they?

December 2, 2005

The Billings Gazette says that TCT West, using subsidiary Yellowstone Wi-Fi, has launched various wireless network trials in the town of Cody, Wyoming. They started deploying a year ago, and turned it on last summer in a soft launch. By next summer, they expect to start a marketing push aimed at tourists. The network covers the regional airport and reaches the rodeo grounds, using about 30 APs mounted on light poles (they don't say whose equipment is in use). TCT West is paying Cody $1 per pole per month for the rights, after spending $100,000 to deploy the system. They'll charge $30 per month or $6 an hour to end users.

There are 84 hotspots in operation now in Bucaramanga, Floridablanca and Gir n, all cities in Colombia. They're run by Colombia Telecom's ISP, Telebucaramanga, which began rolling them out in June. They hope to have 105 locations by the end of the year. Access is free to start, but they'll begin charging sometime in 2006.

December 1, 2005

MobilePro's NeoReach subsidiary has two more cities on the unwiring docket: Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, both in Ohio. The cities plan to eventually cover their entire area with Wi-Fi (28 square miles for Cuyahoga Falls, 62 in Akron). NeoReach usually uses equipment from Strix Systems in their deployments such as the Tempe, Arizona launch of what it says is the first true citywide (not town-wide) hotzone. The networks will need final approval from the city councils. Each will start with a portion of downtown getting Wi-Fi. Once the networks are complete, users will be able to roam between the two cities, which are only about five miles apart. Neoreach is also setting up Wi-Fi for the city of Sacramento, California.

It's not exactly a hotspot, but Skyhook Wireless' Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) uses existing Wi-Fi hotspots, home networks, corporate networks, whatever it can find to pinpoint a person's location, just like GPS satellites or cell towers do. This week, the Boston-based company said the service is now active in 70 U.S. metro areas, up from the 25 it had at launch earlier this year. The list of cities is online .

Norwegian mobile phone service provider Telenor is letting subscribers get free access to 400 hotzones. All they do is use their mobile number in place of a user name, and the password they use when accessing their account on the Telenor Web site. The company has a coverage map of the 400 Telenor hotspots online. While the access is free, the downloading is not, as the announcement's fine print points out: "Subscribers only pay for the amounts of data transferred, regardless of whether this is e-mails or web page access."

5G Wireless says its "cellular-style Wi-Fi" is going to power the 33-acre campus hotzone at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland. 5G is going the extra mile to camouflage their hardware when it's mounted on buildings so it will blend in, due to "cosmetic concerns."

November 29, 2005

SiriCOMM has seven new hotspot locations with Pilot Travel Centers. They include Sturbridge, Massachusetts; Winona, Mississippi; East St. Louis, Illinois; Vienna, Georgia; and Georgetown, Sonora, and Lebanon Junction, Kentucky. This pushes the number of Pilot locations with SiriCOMM hotspots to 262.

More than ready to get back on its feet after the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the city of New Orleans will today announce plans to install a citywide municipal wireless network with free access for all, according to the Washington Post and other sources. The mayor also expects it to be put to use by first responders. The city will own and run the network, which will be built using equipment from Tropos Networks, donated by Tropos and Intel. The state of Louisiana prohibits localities from offering Internet service faster than 144Kbps, but the city is skirting the law because it is still in a state of emergency, and expects to provide speeds of 512Kbps. Eventually, they'll outsource the network to private managers, and will fight the 144Kbps limit when the time comes.

Concourse Communications is installing Wi-Fi service at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which serves nine major airlines and has 3.3 million passengers passing through per year in a newly expanded terminal. Once launched in February 2006, 802.11g connection service will cost $7 a day, with no extra cost to Concourse roaming partners like Boingo Wireless. The WLAN will also be used by airport tenants for business.

November 28, 2005

Today, with a "wire-cutting" ceremony expected to feature an appearance by Senator John McCain, MobilePro's NeoReach Wireless subsidiary will officially launch the 40 square mile WAZTempe wireless network across Tempe, Arizona. The network uses equipment from Strix Systems . If you hurry, you can probably watch the event live in a Webcast at WazMetro.com .

European metro-mesh-muni wireless networks have a boost from a deal between RoamAD (software back-end) and HiTel Italia (telecom hardware supplier). The latter will resell the RoamAD software with its multi-radio equipment as an OEM in the European market, and HiTel expects to announce a first deployment before the end of this year.

The city of Kent, Washington is building a public Internet access hotzone in its downtown. The first phase was completed downtown using Vivato Wi-Fi base stations and microcell APs. Anyone can use it for free for two hours each day.

November 17, 2005

Google has its first municipal wireless customer. The San Jose Mercury News says that the city council in the search giant's hometown of Mountain View, California unanimously accepted Google's offer to install 400 access points on city streetlights to provide free, low-bandwidth Wi-Fi to the populace. They have a five-year deal with the city; it should start with tests of the system by June 2006. (The article notes that the "gleeful approval" was made despite "concerns over radiation and privacy." Radiation? Are we back to that?) 1,000 Google employees live in Mountain View.

In case you didn't have a gaggle of kids playing Mario Kart DS around you this week when buying your Big Mac, Nintendo wants to remind the world that the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connections are live at areas all over the globe. Nintendo DS handheld systems at the various hotspots can log on using the integrated Wi-Fi for free multiplayer gaming (no Internet for Web or e-mail, though) for up to four players. The service works over home networks as well. In the U.S., partner locations include all the McDonald's restaurants unwired over the last year by Wayport. In fact, Wayport also installed hotspot service at the Nintendo World Store location in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. The partner hotspots are listed at www.nintendowifi.com (search powered by JiWire, so you can see all the other hotspots in the area as well.) If you don't like hotspots nor have Wi-Fi at home for some incredibly odd reason maybe you have "concerns over radiation" (see above) you can buy their USB Connector for the DS for $35.

November 16, 2005

Chicago is the latest city to say, "Hey, maybe we should look at this wireless stuff." The Sun-Times says the City Council has a task force looking at the possibility of wireless broadband for the city. An RFP is expected that will seek targeted network installations in specific neighborhoods, moving up to citywide installs.

MCI's SkyTel is testing the waters of Wi-Fi with its UnpluggedCity program, starting with Lexington, Kentucky. Service is set up as a SkyTel-owned hotzone for the downtown area for now. Cost for residential users is $25 a month; small businesses pay $70 a month (both services include e-mail accounts and the first month free); enterprises can use it to replace or back up their T1 lines for $575 a month; and visitors to the service pay $6 an hour or $10 a day.

The latest market for Verizon Wireless' EV-DO (Evolution Data-Optimized) network, known as BroadbandAccess along with the V CAST multimedia service, is in Greeley, Colorado. Coverage actually stretches from Ft. Collins in the north to the Denver suburbs of Highlands Ranch and Parker in the south, including Denver, Boulder and even Denver International Airport. Unlimited monthly access is still $60 a month with a two-year commitment.

Proxim , now a subsidiary of Terabeam, says its equipment has been used to build the municipal wireless network for Burbank, California . The city, with provider M-Gravity, earlier this year launched a one square mile hotzone as part of efforts to revitalize the downtown. Now it's extended to include municipal buildings throughout the city, with ORiNOCO APs used for guest Internet access, plus use of their Tsunami products for connecting those buildings back to the fiber optic backhaul. As reported last month the network is secured with a controller from Bluesocket .

I ncumbent l ocal e xchange c arrier s (ILECs), the U.S. phone carriers established in a market, that are sick of having all these guys come in and set up municipal Wi-Fi, can look to Falcon Communications for help. The company long an ILEC equipment maker is going to build multi-radio mesh node equipment using RoamAD's software to run it. Falcon says it can be used for "large-scale muni Wi-Fi networks and campus hotzones, as well as highway/mass transit Wi-Fi networks."

Hotspot search engine HotSpot Haven says it has opened up its search API for Web sites, part of a program called Site Exchange for Publishers for those Web builders who want to have their own hotspot directory on their local site, powered by HotSpot Haven. Alter the look as you like, and once installed, it'll start offering up hotspot location info.

Wireless Facilities Inc. (WFI) says it will be providing wireless services throughout the city of Tucson, Arizona. The services won't be for public use, though. The project is called Emergency Room Link (ER-LINK) and is for sending patient data from ambulances to hospital trauma centers. The network will be created with Tropos Networks ' mesh equipment.

Koshimizu, a town located on Hokkaido Island, Japan, is getting broadband wireless service through provider Hokkaido Seiko Time Systems (HSTS). The company is using Alvarion's BreezeACCESS VL equipment running in the 4.9GHz band with OFDM modulation to avoid interference. The deployment was apparently so successful that other towns on the island are looking for service.

November 11, 2005

Ultrawideband used for broadband? Not just broadband, but how about broadband over gas pipelines? That's the word from a story on News.com that says Nethercomm of San Diego is using UWB to create a technology to provide high-speed IP services over natural-gas pipes. Some call it outrageous, while others think it could save lots of money for broadband providers.

November 10, 2005

Google might be unwiring its hometown of Mountain View, California, using the same proposal they put forth to San Francisco: 300 Kilobit per second (Kbps) wireless Internet access for anyone in the city, for free. The company submits its proposal to the Mountain View City Council this week for a discussion next week; the San Jose Mercury News says the mayor was initially approached by Google weeks ago about using the city poles and lights to host 300 access points to cover 12 square miles with 72,000 residents. It's interesting to note that Mountain View already signed an agreement to get municipal Wi-Fi from MetroFi , another local company, which provides networks in nearby Cupertino and Santa Clara, with Sunnyvale coming soon. Maybe it helps that Google is building a research facility in Mountain View for work it's doing with NASA and the Ames Research Center? Google also says it still has no plans to provide any Wi-Fi broadband to cities outside of the Bay Area.

November 9, 2005

JiWire says its online database of hotspots will be integrated into travel site Expedia , so customers making travel plans can also decide where to stop for wireless Internet access. They'll pay special attention to finding Wi-Fi in hotels and resorts around the world. JiWire says that 22,313 places of lodging are now offering Wi-Fi more than restaurants and cafes.

Wireless Facilities, Inc. (WFI) has scored another city. This time, it has been picked "to provide network design and deployment services" for Temecula, California's proposed municipal Wi-Fi network in its Old Town area. They'll be using mesh equipment from Tropos Networks . Deployment is scheduled for early 2006. The network will be used by city workers and first responders, as well as local businesses. Last month, the papers were signed by WFI and partners to provide Wi-Fi in Madiscon, Wisconsin . WFI is one of Google's partners in its proposal for unwiring the city of San Francisco.

Speaking of San Francisco , the city is apparently ready to move from the RFI (request for info) stage to the RFP (request for proposal) stage in its quest for citywide Wi-Fi, rather than just deciding to work with one of the companies that submitted to the RFI including the much-discussed Google submission. Meanwhile, Muniwireless.com reports that the city of Houston, Texas (pop. 2 million) may be the next major city to look at a municipal wireless network for its inhabitants. Like most of the other municipalities looking at wireless, there's few details except that the mayor doesn't want it paid for by taxpayers.

Soldiers on the putting green at the Fort Lewis military base golf course in Fort Lewis, Washington, can stay in touch via Wi-Fi now that GPS Industries has installed its Inforemer system on 64 golf carts there. GPSI specializes in wireless and location services for golf resorts. This is their first military customer, though the course was also recently opened to the public.

Toshiba's MyConnect now has an International Access Program for remote access. Subscribers have to sign up for a United States base package ($40 per month unlimited, $20 per month for 30 hours, prepaid plans for three months at $110 or six months at $210, or $4 per hour pay-as-you go) and then pay an additional $13 per three-hour block when connecting outside of the U.S. MyConnect provides access to 23,000 public hotspots as well as dial-up and broadband connections, for a total of 54,000 venues in its footprint.

November 8, 2005

Usually, Verizon Wireless gets all the EV-DO mobile broadband love, but Spring is not lagging far behind. The company's Sprint Power Vision network, based on EV-DO technology, is now available in 141 major markets and 250 airports, according to Sprint Nextel ( check the location list ). The company expects the service to be in 220 markets by early next year. Average connection speed for devices on the nework is 400 to 700 Kbps, with bursts up to 2Mbps. The cost to get unlimited access is $40 per month or $60 if you get a voice account to go with it, plus you get a free connection card for your laptop if you sign up before the end of this year.

Nortel equipment will power the mesh network going into the village of Dunrobin, northwest of Ottawa, an area that can't get buried cable. The Internet access to 1,200 homes and businesses will be run by SimplySurf , a local WISP from Ottawa. It's a trial for SimplySurf, who says if successful they'll use Nortel mesh in more rural communities in the coming year. Cost starts at $30 Canadian per month, with a $250 setup fee.

November 4, 2005

To anyone surfing at hotspots in Westchester County , north of New York City, help is on the way! The county executive has submitted a proposed law to the Board of Legislators that would "require Internet cafes as well as commercial businesses that use wireless networks to take basic security precautions to protect private customer information from potential data thieves and hackers." He proved this point by actually going out wardriving with the county CIO. It doesn't say what will be required to have "basic security," except mentioning "low-cost personal firewalls," which wouldn't do it, and aren't exactly up to the business owner, anyway.

The 160 Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores will become roadside hotspots for travelers though a new deal with SiriCOMM . In addition to adding Wi-Fi, Love's will also be a SiriCOMM reseller for the InTouch service, so no need to go to the WISP to get online. SiriCOMM also provides services at Pilot Travel Centers . This new deal will give them 400 locations across the U.S.

Hot on the heels of its similar announcements for Japan, the United States and Canada, Nintendo said this week that it's teaming up with BT OpenZone and The Cloud in the United Kingdom to bring wireless gaming to Nintendo DS owners. Starting November 25th, 7,500 hotspots in the UK operated by the two WISPs (including McDonald's and Coffee Republic, as well as several hotels, service stations, railway stations, football stadiums, the British Library, Canary Wharf, and even student unions on university campuses) will allow DS players unfettered access via built-in 802.11b (but no Web surfing or e-mail; just game play). Nintendo plans to hook BT OpenZone service up at various video game retail outlets as well. Home Wi-Fi networks will, obviously, get the DS handheld online too. Mario Kart DS will be one of the first games out to support multiplayer gaming over the wireless Internet connection. Other games include Tony Hawk's American SK8Land. The Wi-Fi support for the DS goes live in North America on November 14. The upcoming Nintendo console codenamed "Revolution" will also be able to use the wireless service. Watch NintendoWiFi.com for details.

November 2, 2005

Sprint is using the MobileAccess Networks in-building wireless system to provide Wi-Fi service at the 500,000 square foot Oakland International Airport in California. The service will be available to the 14.1 million passengers who pass through the airport annually.

The 33,000-student school district in Newport News, Virginia has 52 buildings, 45 of which are now unwired using equipment from 3Com . The company's Wireless LAN Mobility System is managing 500+ access points from a central location without requiring visits from IT staffers. The network is used for administration including the student information system as well as online testing, live video and probably even Internet access (though they don't confirm that last one).

The best wrap restaurant chain in New England, Fresh City try the Shanghai Chicken is opening a new location in North Andover, Massachusetts next week that's set to be bigger than most previous incarnations, at 4,500 square feet. Plus, it'll have free Wi-Fi access and an HDTV screen for public viewing. But seriously, try that Shanghai Chicken.

Remote access provider RemotePipes has done interoperability testing with RedMoon , and says the users of the RemotePipes IP Roamer service can now roam on the citywide Wi-Fi mesh that RedMoon provides in Addison, Texas. RedMoon also runs networks in Grand Praire, Burleson and Corpus Christi, but they apparently aren't part of the deal.

As reported last month on Wi-Fi Planet , the folks at JiWire are taking control of the Wi-Fi ZONE Finder for Wi-Fi Alliance. That revamped directory is now live at http://wi-fi.jiwire.com .

Riptide Wireless has extended its mesh network coverage in southern California to include more of Orange County, including Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, South Irvine, El Toro, Laguna Woods and Mission Viejo. Service starts at $30 per month for wireless Internet access.

The 25-block Internet hotzone found downtown in the city of Burbank , California since May is now secured using a controller from BlueSocket . The network covers about one square mile, including various residences and businesses (including some "entertainment destinations"). It's run by M-Gravity. In the future, they'll put in VPN connections and a mesh network for municipal use.

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