February Newsbits

By Naomi Graychase

February 29, 2008

A new report says Sprint has the best mobile WiMAX opportunity; Wayport offers Webinar on leveraging Wi-Fi in the hospitality business; Opryland gets Wi-Fi; iPass releases Vista version; Mediabistro to hold two-day technology summit; and more.

Market research firm Maravedis has released a new study, which makes predictions about the future of WiMAX technology. The report "profiles more than 23 carriers, vendors, spectrum holders, and industry stakeholders to ascertain, primarily from the carrier point of view, opportunities, realities, and threats." For a sneak peak at the results, visit ISP-Planet.com.

February 28, 2008

Wayport is hosting a free Webinar for IT professionals in the hospitality business. The session, entitled "Improve Guest Satisfaction and Operational Efficiency by Leveraging Your Network Investment" will cover strategies for “developing operational efficiencies and finding cost-saving opportunities while providing guests with the conveniences of home and seamless service.”

The one-hour online event takes place Thursday, March 13 at 2:00 p.m. EST and will be led by BITS Group President Leonard Vasquez, who has 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, and Wayport’s Hospitality Vice President and General Manager Kevin McKeand.

The talk will cover how hospitality IT professionals can leverage their property-level network to:

  • “Proactively manage their network to enhance the guest experience.”
  • “Use their network creatively and cost-effectively to ensure optimal systems operations.”
  • “Increase capabilities in areas such as security (PCI, SOX) and bandwidth management to efficiently enable their guests’ digital lifestyles.”

To register, fill out the online form.

February 25, 2008

Aruba Networks announced today that it has partnered with Gaylord Entertainment, a leading hospitality and entertainment company based in Nashville, TN to deploy Wi-Fi networks at the Gaylord Opryland, Gaylord Texan, Gaylord Palms, and Gaylord National Resorts. According to Aruba, the finished deployments will comprise one of the largest wireless network projects in the hospitality industry.

Gaylord, which also operates The Grand Ole Opry, will include cost in the daily resort fee for guests. Access will be available in-room and in all public areas, including hotel lobbies, atria, restaurants, lounges, bars, and pool areas. Wireless access in the convention center and meetings rooms includes additional firewall and security and is contracted separately by the meeting planner who controls the codes that provide meeting attendees access to the service. 

1,700 Aruba APs have already been deployed at the Gaylord Opryland, Gaylord Texan Grapevine, and Gaylord Palms Resorts; the deployment took a 40-member team approximately 90 days. The Gaylord National Resort installation is scheduled for completion in April.  Later this year, a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solution will be implemented to help in the tracking of company assets and to improve supply chain management for services, such as catering and inventory.

Aruba’s Adaptive Radio Management (ARM) supports Intel Centrino, Apple Macintosh, and a broad array of Wi-Fi-enabled client devices.

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iPass today announced a new version of its iPassConnect mobility manager for Microsoft’s Windows Vista. Just as with earlier versions, iPassConnect mobility manager provides users with the ability to login with the same username and password at approximately 95,000 Wi-Fi and Ethernet locations worldwide, as well as in areas served by some of the world’s largest networks of 3G mobile broadband. It also offers dial-up access in 160 countries.

The version of iPassConnect mobility manager released today supports Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000.

Among the built-in features is a searchable directory that allows users to locate nearby hotspots while offline.

Other device platforms supported by iPass Mobile Office include Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), Windows Mobile, and Symbian OS. The service is priced on a flat-rate, active-user basis.

February 21, 2008

Mediabistro, the popular online job site, (owned by Wi-FiPlanet's parent company, Jupitermedia) announced today that it will host a two day summit on the "digital tools and trends changing media." The conference, dubbed, "Mediabistro Circus" will be held at Skylight Studios in New York City on May 20-21, 2008.

Planners expect the first Mediabistro Circus to be "an unconventional gathering of creative content producers geared toward senior-level professionals."

Topics include mobile technology, online video, social networking, blogging, digital publishing, and user experience design.

"A roster of Internet rock stars will present fresh takes on topics crucial to their businesses," said Mediabistro.com founder Laurel Touby.

Speakers scheduled to appear include: Nicholas Carr, author of The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google and Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage; Robert Scoble, who blogs about technology at Scobleizer and is the author of Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers; and Anil Dash, Chief Evangelist at Six Apart.

To register or get more information, visit the conference Web site or read the conference blog.

February 20, 2008

BelAir Networks CTO, Stephen Rayment, will be hosting a live Web cast, “High-Performance Broadband Mesh for Defense Applications,” on Tuesday, February 26 at 2:00 pm EST, and on Thursday, February 28 at 2:00 pm EST. For more details or to register go to www.belairnetworks.com/webcasts.

February 19, 2008

Vumber, the “disposable calling service,” today announced a new partnership with Paltalk, a real-time, video-based community that claims to have four million active members. Paltalk members can try Vumber's virtual phone number service for 30 days for free.

“With Vumber, Paltalk members will have more privacy, control, and freedom when providing phone numbers to one another,” said Vumber Co-Founder Cliff Wener in a press release today.

A “Vumber” is a virtual, disposable IP-based phone number. To use it, one must already have at least one working phone number. Vumber users choose a new phone number that can be linked to any existing phone line. The number can be within any area code in North America. So, for instance, if one wanted to make it appear as though one had business offices—or a home—in Manhattan, they could request a number within the 212 area code, even if they live or work in Topeka (or Hoboken).

Calls can be made to and from a Vumber at any time and will ring on any phone that the user selects. Customers can also change their Vumber at any time—thus the disposability factor. Give your number out to the wrong person? No problem. Ditch the number and start again.

After the free 30-day trial of Vumber’s service, the usual rate of $4.99 per month will apply to Paltalk members.

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Asus’s new portable dual-core mini-desktop PC, aimed at the “digital home” market, hit store shelves today. The Intel-based Nova P22 PC ($899) features built-in Wi-Fi (802.11n draft 2), as well as Bluetooth. ASUS_NovaP22_Black.jpg

The compact PC measures just 9” x 7.2” x 2” and requires only 122 cubic inches of space. To address the heat issues small form factor PCs encounter, the Asus Nova P22 incorporates solid capacitors, an L-shaped heat dissipation module, S-shaped heat pipes, and three AI fans. Even with the extra fans, the P22 is quiet—functioning at only 25dB (below the level of human hearing).

When you’re looking to be not-so-quiet, though, the built-in speakers provide high quality audio output. For home theater configurations, the Nova supports 5.1 analog or digital surround output with Dolby Digital Live or DTS connect technology.

Available in “glossy pearl white” and “piano black,” the Nova P22 is designed to blend in to contemporary home surroundings. A scaled-down version, the P20 ($749), is also available starting today.  

February 15, 2008

Aruba Networks announced this week that Hess Corporation has deployed its converged data, voice, and video networks and client-to-core security solutions throughout its corporate offices and drilling operations in countries as disparate as Denmark and Equatorial Guinea.

Hess, a Fortune 100 energy company headquartered in New York, centrally configures and manages the network, which serves offices and deepwater platforms in many countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Norway, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, from one U.S. data center.

Aruba’s ruggedized outdoor APs are used to connect five deepwater platforms in total, some more than six miles apart. The platforms communicate via a redundant mesh network.

“The same equipment, the same security protection, and the same network management infrastructure simultaneously serve the CEO and the remote oil rig workers,” said Keerti Melkote, Aruba’s founder and head of products and partnerships, in a press release Monday.

For more on Wi-Fi deployments in the oil industry, read Black Gold.

February 14, 2008

Wayport and Boingo Wireless today announced that they have extended their agreement for three years. The deal enables Boingo subscribers to access Wayport’s entire North American network of Wi-Fi hotspots, including more than 9,000 newly-added McDonald’s restaurants.

Boingo’s network contains more than 100,000 hotspots worldwide from roughly 150 leading Wi-Fi operators, including Wayport. Boingo users can connect to any Boingo hotspot with a single Boingo account using Boingo’s free Wi-Fi client software.

Wayport is a neutral host, enabling wireless carriers, ILECs, ISPs, device manufacturers, and aggregators (such as Boingo) to offer their own branded Wi-Fi experience to their subscribers through Wayport’s Wi-Fi locations.

February 13, 2008

Ekahau today announced the release of Ekahau Positioning Engine (EPE) 4.2. The Wi-Fi based RTLS (Real Time Location System) is a comprehensive turn-key solution that can be installed over any brand or generation of Wi-Fi infrastructure. Ekahau’s RTLS supports location tracking with room-level (or better) accuracy, without the need to upgrade the existing Wi-Fi network. No UWB antennas or other proprietary infrastructure need be installed.

EPE 4.2 offers new features over the previous version, including:

  • Added Event Management
  • Better scalability
  • Faster deployment

Several Ekahau customers have already deployed EPE 4.2, including the Helsinki District Hospital in Finland.

For more on Ekahau, RTLS, or Wi-Fi in health care, read these stories:

The Doctor is In: Wi-Fi's Increasingly Valuable Role in the Business of Healthcare by Jeff Goldman

Location, Location, Location by Naomi Graychase

UWB Brings Greater Precision to RTLS by Jeff Goldman

February 12, 2008

De-Fi Mobile unveiled its new Straight Talk service today at Mobile World Congress. According to a release issued by its VoIP partner, BroadSoft, the service “disrupts the existing mobile services market by bridging the gaps between carrier networks, handset manufacturers, and mobile application providers.”

De-Fi is incorporating the BroadWorks VoIP application platform from BroadSoft, which will enable users to take advantage of BroadWorks calling features on dual-mode handsets. Callers will also have the ability to make calls to and from anywhere in the world, without roaming or long distance charges.

De-Fi Mobile has created its own IP Network; BroadWorks allows Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phones to access the SIP-based network. De-Fi hopes that its peering and interconnect agreements with over 220 carriers, and cable and DSL providers worldwide, will help to deliver a seamless user experience. Wherever Wi-Fi is available, De-Fi expects that mobile users (of supported devices) will be able to access De-Fi's application platform to receive BroadWorks-based Vo-Wi-Fi services.

Straight Talk is currently only available on Nokia E and N series phones, but access for more devices is in the works. To sign up for the Straight Talk service, visit De-Fi's Web site. Subscribers can choose from phone numbers in 28 countries.

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Devicescape announced today that it has partnered with Deutsche Telekom (owners of the T-Mobile and T-Home brands). The partnership will enable T-Home and T-Mobile users to have simpler access to more than 8,000 T-Mobile HotSpots in Europe.

The Devicescape service, which is free to end users, simplifies Wi-Fi hotspot log-ins by eliminating the need to type in login and password information. It also supports automatic login for devices without browsers (such as cameras or media players).

Devicescape also announced today the launch of its Devicescape Connect Service for operators. According to Devicescape, this new “out-of-the-box” Wi-Fi solution allows carriers to "provide better integration of cellular and Wi-Fi services to customers, increase the number of users and number of sessions, and bring new types of devices onto their networks and reduce support costs." More information is available at the Devicescape Web site.

February 11th, 2008

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced today that it has certified more than 200 devices as part of its Wi-Fi Protected Setup Program.  The program, which was launched just over a year ago, is intended to help consumer and small-business users to secure their Wi-Fi networks.  Products certified for Wi-Fi Protected Setup include dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular phones, Wi-Fi enabled printers, and more than 80 products featuring Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 802.11n draft 2.0 technology. Just over half of the devices are also certified for WMM® (Wi-Fi Multimedia) Quality of Service, which optimizes them for voice, gaming, and multimedia applications. 

The WFA has also launched testing support for NFC (Near-Field Communication) as an additional Wi-Fi Protected Setup network configuration method. 

"In the NFC method, a user touches a card or token to designated areas on an access point and a client device to connect them. NFC joins two previously-tested mechanisms, push-button and PIN entry, to simplify the process of joining devices to a security-enabled Wi-Fi network. Like the push-button method, the NFC technique is especially useful to connect devices that don’t have a keyboard-oriented user interface, such as cameras, gaming devices, and other consumer electronics. Manufacturers now have even more flexibility in how to deploy Wi-Fi Protected Setup, ultimately giving consumers more choice when they buy Wi-Fi CERTIFIED phones and consumer electronics," said the WFA in a press release issued today. 

A list of all products Wi-Fi CERTIFIED for Wi-Fi Protected Setup, as well as a white paper (available at no charge) which describes the specification in detail, is available at the Wi-Fi Alliance Web site. 

February 7, 2008

Motorola announced today two new Wave 2-ready devices, the desktop CPEi 750 and a new PC card. These new WiMAX (802.16e ) devices are the newest in Motorola’s portfolio of WiMAX customer premises equipment (CPE).

The new PCCw 200 PC card can support both 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz and is expected to be available for commercial deployment in the second quarter of this year. The desktop CPEi 750 is a second-generation WiMAX 802.16e-compliant wireless broadband modem, which features one data and two VoIP/ATA ports. It is available in both 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz, and is scheduled to ship mid-year.

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Film legend and founder of the Sundance Institute, Robert Redford will be delivering a keynote address at the Mobile World Congress is Barcelona next week. The conference, sponsored by the GSM Association (GSMA) is the world’s largest communications industry event. Redford will be discussing the potential of mobile—the ‘4th screen’—as a medium for independent filmmakers to reach new audiences on a global basis.

February 5th, 2008

Today, Devicescape, the company that makes it easier for you to connect your mobile device to hotspots, announced the creation of the Devicescape Developer Community (DDC). The DDC is “designed to speed evaluations and encourage non-commercial innovation.” Members will get access to source code and can license the Devicescape Connect 2.0 software (an upgrade released today) for free. The source code is available for Windows, MacOSX, iPhone and iPod touch, Nokia S60, and Internet Tablets. Interested developers can apply to join the program by visiting this site

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BelAir Networks announced two new products today, the new BelAir200D and BelAir100D Wireless Mesh Node for Defense Applications, which both support the 4.4GHz military spectrum, as well as the new 802.11n draft standard.

Among BelAir’s newest military clients is the SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare) Systems Center, Charleston (SSC Charleston), which will use BelAir equipment to support its Wireless Pier Connection Systems (WPCS).


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