The hot spot is hot
- By John K. Waters
There has been an explosion in the demand for wireless LAN (WLAN)
technologies that is driving growth in newer wireless markets, such as health
care, education and corporate office space. According to Brian Cohee, product
marketing director at Kirkland, Wash.-based Wavelink, these last two are not
about the applications anymore. ''They're about making sure a laptop can connect
wirelessly,'' he said. ''They're more about the cost of the infrastructure, the
ease of deployment and the cost savings of going wireless.''
Also, the idea of establishing WLANs in public access areas, such as hotels,
train stations, airports and even small municipal areas, to create wireless
''hot spots'' is gaining considerable traction. Although real-world
implementations are few at present, researchers at Analysis Consulting expect
the number of wireless hot spots in public venues to grow to 41,000 and reach 21
million users worldwide by 2007.
''Now what we're seeing is the phenomenon of hot spots being interspersed
with bigger cellular networks,'' explained Wavelink's Cohee. ''We're seeing the
beginnings of a nice interplay between wide-area applications and wireless LAN
applications roaming between the two environments.''
Hewlett-Packard (HP) Corp. announced recently that it is jumping into the
hot-spot space with a new initiative aimed at providing high-speed wireless
access points in large, public areas such as airports, hotels and restaurants.
The company plans to sell customized bundles that include wireless access points
and back-end services for subscriptions and billing, company representatives
According to HP reps, the networks will comprise 802.11 access points from
which users can log on to the Internet with either a wireless 802.11 connection
or a Bluetooth link. The company's new services group will offer IT
infrastructure support to public venues worldwide.
''HP's Public Wireless LANs are the next frontier of mobile computing linking
mobile workers to their enterprise resources and truly extending the reach of
business,'' Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP Services, said in a
company release. ''With WLAN solutions already being implemented in airports,
retail chains, hotels and other public venues, HP brings considerable expertise
in IT infrastructure services and enabling infrastructure to support mobility.
HP addresses the full spectrum of the wireless connectivity opportunity better
than any other technology company.''
Not to be left off the WLAN bandwagon, IBM announced that it plans to bring
Nokia's WLAN solutions to corporate users, and will assist both telecom
operators and wireless Internet service providers that may look to offer
See main story 'Wireless in IT: Still a brave
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached