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Old 09-13-2005, 11:01 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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Wi-Fi fails to connect with mobile users

The term Wi-Fi is mainstream these days. Panera Bread, Starbucks, Kinkos and many more locations now have available Wi-FI, some free and some for a cost. On the surface, it seems like mobile nirvanna. But ComputerWorld says that "For many business travelers, public Wi-Fi hot spots are proving to be not all that hot for making remote connections to the Internet and corporate systems."

What's the alternative? For a laptop, you could try something like Verizon's broadband access card for about $100 and $60/mo in the US. The editor in chief of ComputerWorld, Don Tennant, likes this services and tells us about it here.

There's no doubt that connectivity will be around more and more in one way or another, but clearly we have a way to go before it's meeting user needs.
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Old 09-13-2005, 12:28 PM   #2
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If it is expensive or hard to setup, then a person will not justify its value by getting it. The problem with hotspots is usually that you have to sign in with a seperate account for each one. And cards like the VZW card is more expensive for not so frequent uses. I think that the market is basically pricing itself out of being viable for all users.
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Old 09-13-2005, 03:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobR
What's the alternative? For a laptop, you could try something like Verizon's broadband access card for about $100 and $60/mo in the US. The editor in chief of ComputerWorld, Don Tennant, likes this services and tells us about it here.
I still believe WiFi is the way to go; those alternatives you mention are way too expensive for the regular guy like me to become really attractive. Besides, equipping devices with WiFi is still a new trend, and think about the high acceptance already, it's only a matter of (short) time before everyone is using WiFi for connectivity.
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Old 09-13-2005, 04:07 PM   #4
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On a recent trip I signed up for a month of T-Mobile's unlimited access. It's pretty convenient because of the thousands of T-Mobile Hotspots at large hotel chains, major airports, Barnes & Noble Bookstores and Starbuck's coffee shops.

Any competent IT department who allows their employees to use one of these services uses VPN software, which can increase the complexity for the end-users.

I think in the near to long term, Wi-Fi and similar technologies like WiMax, are the way to go for wireless broadband access. 3G & 4G wireless networks are coming, but I think a combination of the two using "hybrid" networks that seamlessly switch back and forth will become popular due to the strengths and weaknesses of each network (geographical coverage, RF limitations, etc).

The costs of these services are likely to decline over time. The early adopters are footing the bill for the infrastructure investments and paying a premium before economies of scale bring down the prices.
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Old 09-18-2005, 10:13 AM   #5
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I recently carried a laptop with me on vacation, figuring it would be easy to use a WiFi node somewhere. I was really surprised by how much T-Mobile charged in Barnes & Noble. I think that these sort of pricing schemes are going to make people lose interest in hot spots. They're pricing WiFi service like we used to pay for dial-up internet in the old days! It can't possibly last like that.

Later I found a bar down the street that had free WiFi and that proved to be a better bet. Besides, beer beats coffee on vacation!
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Old 09-18-2005, 08:45 PM   #6
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In Australia, Telsta (our main Telco) and McDonalds have banded together to provide wifi hotspots in all their restaurants which is admirable, but they charge $5AUS for the first 15 minutes, then 20c per minute after that! I'm not sure what audience they're after, but I'm not paying that sort of money for a quick check of my email.

I'd have liked to see them include free access when you purchase so much food, coffee or whatever, which might see more acceptance...

And they're the only public wifi access points in my little town our here in the sticks ... <sigh>

Craig.
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