Hotspot Hits for October, 2005
October 26, 2005
Ball State is Most Unwired Campus; Nintendo announces world-wide Wi-Fi locations for gaming; San Jose to expand downtown Wi-Fi; and more
Looks like that meeting of the Anaheim City Council worked out well for EarthLink. The ISP-turned-WISP announced today that it has the "exclusive franchise" to build the city's broadband Wi-Fi network or it will, once the contract is approved. The network will cover 50 square miles (does that include Disneyland?) eventually, but will start out with a two square mile proof-of-concept area. The rest won't go live until late in 2006. The network will be used by city employees, residents, visitors (at Disneyland?) and businesses, and will be offering "open access" for other WISPs to sell service upon. Tropos is again the equipment provider of choice.
The Wi-Fi network at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport the "world's busiest airport," with 240,000 passengers passing through each day went live today. The network covers 5.8 million square feet in six concourses using around 30 Cisco access points per concourse, as well as in the central atrium. Cisco points out that, unlike many airports where the network is owned by the installer, this network is owned entirely by Hartsfield-Jackson. It's a neutral host system, however, so it can allow any WISP it wants to provide service on the network. Users get shuttled to a proxy Web page to log in or purchase access. Among the WISPs and remote access providers using the network are Boingo Wireless and Concourse Communications, with Sprint soon to come.
Azulstar Networks isn't just unwiring Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The company said today it's also completed deployment in Ferrysburg and Spring Lake in Michigan. Combined with Grand Haven, Azulstar calls it a "tri-city metro Wi-Fi network." The company has announced that it will sell an Azulstar Hot City in a Box product, which it says has everything needed to provide municipalities with metro Wi-Fi that can reap revenues. Well, everything except all the expensive hardware.
Microsense says it will double the number of hotspots it has in India from 500 to 1,000 by the end of this year. The company is working to promote Wi-Fi use in the country by participating in Intel's Wireless Verification Program, which pushes awareness of Intel's Centrino chipsets for Wi-Fi use in laptops. Hotspots will be found at Café Coffee Day locations and elsewhere.
ICOA Airport Networks (formerly known as ICOA's Airport Network Solutions) has new airport networks to announce in Austin Straubel International in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Stewart International in New Windsor, New York. The former, with 500,000 passengers passing through annually, is ready now. Stewart servicing 800,000 passengers per year goes live in November.
Russia is getting a nationwide WiMax broadband wireless network. This is according to Enforta of the Netherlands, who will be using equipment from InfiNet Wireless of Moscow to create a "WiMAX network in the Russian Federation spanning 28 major cities," according to a statement. Enforta has "significant operator holdings" in Russia, giving it the access needed. The network is already live in Novosibirst, and is under deployment in 10 other cities.
GPS Industries' latest golf course deployment is at the Thundering Waters course in Niagara Falls, Canada. 80 golf carts are festooned with 10.4-inch LCDs for the InForemer wireless system, supporting location info and other Wi-Fi applications.
Albuquerque, New Mexico is offering free Wi-Fi-based Internet access on buses, to help drive drivers out of cars and into mass transit. The network on the "Rapid Ride" express bus system is run by InterNetwork Experts (of Texas, but with offices in Albuquerque) using Cisco equipment. The buses had 120,000 passengers in September, but no word on how many actually went online while riding.
San Jose, south of San Francisco, is due for a city council vote today on whether to look at expanding its free wireless access in areas of downtown, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Don't expect a citywide push like the one in San Francisco the city doesn't want to make any incumbent providers or local businesses mad. The expansion would, however, include city parks, libraries, and much more of the downtown area currently, free Wi-Fi can be found in San Pedro Square, Plaza de Cesar Chavez and Circle of the Palms. 75 people per day on average log on at these sites, according to the city. If the vote goes through, the city will issue an RFP to vendors willing to install the expansion at a cost of $100,000.
Verizon Wireless asks, why use Wi-Fi in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley at all when you can use EV-DO? The company's evolution-data optimized based network, called BroadbandAccess, is now available throughout the San Francisco area, stretching from Healdsburg (about 65 miles north of the Golden Gate) down to Gilroy in the south well south of San Jose. This puts BroadbandAccess in 171 metro markets in the U.S., including nine counties around the San Francisco Bay.
A little farther south in Anaheim home of the Mighty Ducks! that city is also scheduled for a council meeting today to consider whether to enter into a 20-year relationship with EarthLink to provide a 50 square mile public wireless network, much like what the ISP is doing in Philadelphia. Anaheim's fiber optic connections and light poles would be used by EarthLink to install the network utilizing mesh equipment from Tropos, with EarthLink paying fees for pole access and electricity, and covering the other costs of deployment. The city would use the network at a discount, as a redundant system to the Wi-Fi it already has in place for public safety.
The largest building in Washington, D.C., the 3.1 million square foot Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center run by the United States General Services Administration (GSA), is now a full hotspot, courtesy of All Ways On Wireless (not to be confused with Always On Wireless... except for the fact that they are both always on, in all ways). The coverage extends well past the 1.1 million square feet of meeting space for trade shows and conferences to the Aria Trattoria restaurant, Woodrow Wilson Plaza, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan Place. Anyone with 802.11b/g can log on, but service costs $6 per hour or $13 per day. Longer terms can be worked out for those attending conferences.
October 20, 2005
Is the Boston Globe in the hotspot business? Not exactly. Technology editor DC Dennison and local Wi-Fi entrepreneur Michael Oh of NewburyOpen.net came up with the idea of Wireless Pulse Points that the Globe sponsors to provide information about a location via a Wi-Fi connection. What the Points don't provide is Internet access. Instead, the locations are offering the signal to create "situational communities" of people in the area. There will be information from the networks if you're at South Station, you can get info on Acela trains, local service providers (like the shoeshine guy), or sculptures throughout the station. The first two announced Pulse Points are Barbara's Bestsellers in South Station and the Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Upper Newbury Street the latter has been a free hotspot with NewburyOpen since its launch in March 2002.
October 19, 2005
While McDonald's and Wayport bring free Wi-Fi access to Nintendo DS users in the United States starting November 14, DS users in Canada who want to go online while out and about can look to the hotspots run by FatPort in various hotels and cafes. (In November, sites will be listed at NintendoWiFi.com.)
Hotspot provider 82nd Street Wireless of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is offering its venue customers, specifically the hospitality industry, a Prepaid & Complimentary Wi-Fi Hotspot Kit. Plug the router into any broadband connection, and the venue owner can decide whether or not to charge end-user customers (using prepaid airtime cards). Those venues that don't charge pay $50 a month; those that do charge get 50 percent of the take. Both, though, have to pay $500 for setup. Ouch. 82nd offers live telephone support.
VIP Network Holdings will be setting up a hotzone in Westminster, California, serving the Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese communities in the Little Saigon area. The network will be using 5G Wireless Solutions' "cellular-style" Wi-Fi equipment for mounting outdoors on rooftops, which VIP resells. The area is the "largest Vietnamese enclave outside of Vietnam," according to UPI.
October 18, 2005
What better spot to go online with your Nintendo DS game unit than the local McDonald's? Nintendo's hotspot access for game users will hit the 7,000 McDonald's locations with Wi-Fi (courtesy of Wayport) this year. While most customers have to pay to go online at Mickey D's, players on the DS get access for free so they can play others online, all according to GameIndustry.biz. Starting November 14, DS owners can buy the online-enabled Mario Kart DS and head over for some McNuggets and Wi-Fi. (Wireless support will also be built into the new Nintendo Revolution console, coming in 2006.)
Y-Tel says that, working with an ISP called Dotcom, it has installed its first mesh network in the town of Nacogdoches, Texas. The move is meant to convert Dotcom's local dial-up customers to wireless (limited to 802.11b), while Y-Tel hopes the service will catch on with VoIP users wanting to use the Y-Tel CellNet service at home and at hotspots. CellNet requires installing a box in the location where you want voice service, though they also offer a VoIP service (with patent pending) that works for existing cell phones. The two companies will share revenues from the network.
Connexion by Boeing is trying out phones on its in-flight wireless system on some test planes. The phone system isn't VoWi-Fi, however: it's GSM and CDMA, made possible by UTStarcom, using their MovingMedia 2000 equipment, which is still IP-based. Connexion plans to offer mobile phone support on flights in early 2006.
Barrie, Ontario, Canada (pop. 127,000), north of Toronto, is using DragonWave's AirPair equipment to install a 200Mbps full-duplex self-healing mesh backbone for use by the city. Instead of concentrating all the wireless services at city hall, the new network covers more ground, and also provides redundancy should something happen at the hall it's part of the city's disaster recovery plan.
Recently-announced SeaMobile, which plans to provide wireless data and voice services on cruise ships, ferries and the like, has signed on to get satellite backhaul services from CapRock Communications, a company that usually provides connectivity to offshore oil and mining rigs. At any given time, up to 12 satellites in geosynchronous orbit will be providing broadband to the vessels. Both companies will work to jointly market services to the maritime industry.
October 12, 2005
The Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (LYRIC) and the LYRIC House in San Francisco will be receiving half of the proceeds earned by Anchorfree Wireless at its Castro District hotzone for the next full year. The wireless Internet access is free, but paid for by advertising. (Anchorfree is also one of the many companies with a proposal in to unwire all of San Francisco, along with names like EarthLink and Google.)
There's a slew of new Barnes & Noble stores out there, and they all come with SBC FreedomLink Wi-Fi service. The locations include: Shoppes at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, Illinois; The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley in Center Valley, Pennsylvania (near Allentown); Metropolis LifeStyle Center in Plainfield, Indiana; Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Virginia; Shops at Tanforan in San Bruno, California; Mid Rivers Mall in St. Peters, Missouri; Firewheel Town Center in Garland, Texas; Shops at Greenridge in Greenville, South Carolina; Preston and Royal Shopping Center in Dallas; Avenue at Carriage Crossing in Collierville, Tennessee; Ala Moana Center in Honolulu; Grand Teton Mall in Idaho Falls, Idaho; Westwood Village Center in Seattle; and Shops at Centerra in Loveland, Colorado. Those not open now will be open in the next few weeks. SBC charges $4 for two hours, or $20 per month for unlimited access, at all locations.
October 11, 2005
Want to buy Clearwire access? If the proprietary wireless broadband servicewhich uses licensed radio frequencies, unlike Wi-Fi or WiMax on unlicensed spectrum is available in your area, starting on October 30 you'll be able to order service in the local Best Buy store. Cities soon getting Clearwire include Waco, Texas; Reno, Nevada; and Anchorage, Alaska. Clearwire costs as little as $25 per month for unlimited use at download speeds of 512Kbps (plus $50 activation, as well as modem lease fees of $3 per month).
- Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
- Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan
- University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
- Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
- Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, Massachusetts
- St. John's University, Queens, New York
- Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
- Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island
- Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas
Of the schools looked at, 74 percent of the top 50 have 100 percent wireless coverage on campus. Unique uses of wireless at various schools include using tablet PCs to send data to LCD projectors; broadcasting sporting events to PCs; checking the status of laundry over the network; and virtual office hours with professors.
MobilePro's Neoreach, which is going to be unwiring the entire city of Tempe, Arizona, has struck a deal with AzCentral.com to create a local portal page for use by the service. AZCentral.com is the online home of the Arizona Republic newspaper and KPNX-TV Channel 12, an affiliate with NBC. Anyone logging on to the WazTempe network will see the page at http://waztempe.azcentral.com.
DC Access is moving its Wi-Fi signal into southeast Washington D.C., specifically near the area of Pennsylvania Avenue and 5th Street SE, near the southeast corner of Capitol Hill. This was installed with the help of the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church. The company also provides service at the Arundel apartment building on A Street NE. DC Access charges $29 a month on up; starting service is 200Kbps for downloads.
Connectifi will be providing Wi-Fi services for the Pueblo El Mirage Golf and RV Resort in El Mirage, Arizona. The retirement resort has over 1,600 spots for manufactured homes plus recreational vehicles.
The Opti-Fi hotspot network found mainly in airports in North America (including Atlanta Hartsfield, Miami and Baltimore/Washington) is the latest network to join the footprint available to users of GoRemote's remote access service. Opti-Fi is planning an expansion soon into 28 new airports in the next year, a few of which will be airport-wide, but most with service just in gate areas for AirTran Airways.
October 7, 2005
Canada.com reports that the Starbucks Coffee locations in the country starting with 140 in Ontario are finally all going to become hotspots. They won't be part of T-Mobile, though this time, the service is from Bell Canada. Over the next year, 400 total Starbucks locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan will get the service. Bell Canada, an incumbent phone company, already services hotspots at Mail Boxes Etc. stores, in Air Canada lounges, and on Via Rail trains. They charge $7.50 per hour, $13 per day, or $25 per month (in Canadian dollars, of course). Bell is a hotspot roaming partner with Rogers, Telus Mobility, and Fido.
October 5, 2005
Covad, the provider of, among other things, DSL nationwide, wants into the wireless broadband market. To do so, it just bought out southern California-based fixed-wireless provider NextWeb for $23 million ($4 million cash and $19 in stock, plus its assuming $1.7 million in debt). Back in August, NextWeb bought out 1st Universe which at they time they called the largest cash deal in fixed broadband. NextWeb provides the wireless service to more than 3,000 businesses in the Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco areas, among others, with potential to reach 200,000 such businesses.
ICOA's Airport Network Solutions has two new county-run airports unwired. The Westchester County Airport located in White Plains, New York, and Outagamie County Regional Airport in Appleton, Wisconsin. They are the 22nd and 23rd airports ICOA has worked on, and the 13th and 14th with full-coverage of Wi-Fi in every nook-and-cranny. They company says it's airport-based hotspots have gone up in use by 76% since September of 2004, as they went from seven to 23 airports.
Boingo can't stop roaming. Its latest deal is with BT Openzone, adding 1,588 hotspots in the UK to the Boingo Roaming system. Openzone venues include British Airways lounges, terminals at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports; hotels like Hilton and Corus, and various convention centers and rail stations. Boingo's European virtual network now includes 23 countries with 12,100 hotspots; it has 22,000 hotspots under contract world wide.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that the city of Moorhead, Minnesota, near the border with North Dakota to the west, is officially offering Wi-Fi Internet access like a utility. The city will charge $20 a month for access to the network, called GoMoorhead -- a plan that has already driven down prices of cable and DSL from incumbent providers. Last summer 2,500 households in Moorhead signed up, and they expect as many as 4,000 of the 13,000 residents to buy. The Moorhead deployment uses mesh equipment Tropos Networks and the network is run by First Mile Wireless -- same as the networks in Chaska, Minn. The article says Minneapolis and St. Paul are both looking into city-wide Wi-Fi networks as well.
Meanwhile, Manassas, Virginia, a D.C. suburb, has eschewed the wireless part of broadband, but is battling the telcos anyway by being one of the first city-wide deployments of broadband-over-powerline (BPL) technology, using the town electrical grid to deliver Internet access. The network is run by Communication Technologies (COMTek) and already has 700 customers and 500 more requests, out of 12,500 households in town.
5G Wireless is part of something a bit new for wireless. It's CityWide Wide Area Network equipment is going to be used to create a wireless infrastructure in Nigeria with a single purpose: credit card payment processing. Polestar, a 5G channel partner, is arranging the network for Paymaster, which provides payment services for business throughout western Africa. The network will work only on point-of-sale terminals for authentication and verification.
October 4, 2005
The latest partnership for Boingo Wireless is with Japan Telecom Co. LTD. It will allow Boingo users to roam into the 820 hotspots locations that part of Japan Telecom's BB MobilePoint Wi-Fi Network, a joint offering of SoftBank BB's Yahoo!BB Mobile and MobilePoint (from, of course, Japan Telecom). Locations include airport lounges for All Nippon Airways, and McDonald's restaurants, stations for Japan Railway, and others.