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Issue #2002 - 42 (November 2002)
(Updated Nov. 5, 2002)


WiFi IEEE 802.11 News

SMC Networks introduced two wireless networking products in its EZ Connect Turbo line: the 2.4GHz 11/22 Mbps Auto-Sensing Wireless Access Point and the 2.4GHz 11/22 Mbps Auto-Sensing Wireless Bridge. The hardware targets SOHO users. 

The products use a TI chipset and Packet Binary Convolutional Coding (PBCC) modulation, which, according to SMC, doubles the 802.11b network speed from 11Mbps to 22Mbps. They support up to 253 simultaneous users, using 64/128/256-bit WEP encryption and MAC address filtering. They can be configured via the 10/100 RJ-45 port and either the built-in Web-based interface or Windows Utility program. 

The Wireless Access Point reaches up to 1,155 feet and has an auto-fallback feature for connectivity at 22, 11, 5.5, 2, and 1 Mbps. It is 802.11b compliant. The Wireless Bridge connects separated LANs. It provides coverage of up to 20 miles with optional SMC antennas. It also has auto-fallback and is 802.11b compliant. 

For more information: http://www.smc.com

T-Mobile USA Expands Wireless Net Service at U.S. Airports
T-Mobile USA, in partnership with American, Delta and United Airlines, is installing Wi-Fi networks in 100 of the airlines' passenger lounges in U.S. airports. T-Mobile currently provides the wireless Internet access service in 1,800 Starbucks coffee houses and in 25 American Airlines lounges. Wireless Net access service is also available from Boingo Wireless at 800 airports, in hotel lobbies and at independent coffee shops. Wayport Inc. offers the service at 475 hotels and 10 airports. AT&T Wireless offers the Net access service in almost all of the Denver Airport, and Sprint will offer it at several Wyndham Hotels in the U.S. (Source: Wall Street Journal) 

Studies See Growth in Use of Wi-Fi Networks
Market research firm In-Stat/MDR projects that with 802.11b already being accepted into the home and 802.11a already beginning to penetrate early adopter homes, worldwide annual Wi-Fi node shipments will be 33 million in 2006, up from the approximately 6 million nodes expected to ship out in 2002.

Low-end networking hardware specialists such as Linksys, Buffalo, Netgear, D-Link, SMC, SOHOware and Actiontec have driven the success of Wi-Fi in the home, because they have driven costs down, increased the variety of Wi-Fi products on the market, and have focused on making set-up and installation easier, the study said.

Although the United States is expected to remain the largest market for wireless LAN equipment in the home and Small Office/Home Office space through 2006, Asia Pacific is quite notable for its growth. Japan, S Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore all present good areas of growth for Wi-Fi, the In-Stat /MDR study said.

As prices for Wireless LAN networks have declined, their cost-effectiveness for large and medium-sized businesses has grown. Research firm TowerGroup found that 14 percent of leading North American financial services institutions have already implemented a Wireless LAN network in one or more business units. By 2006, TowerGroup estimates that this figure will rise to 50 percent. The dominant technologies that power Wireless LANs are still evolving, leaving a number of outstanding issues for financial institutions to consider before implementation. These include: the security and integrity of data; system reliability and transmission speed; differences in both technology standards and implementation needs; and issues related to the specific sites where Wireless LANs will be installed, the TowerGroup study said. Of these challenges, TowerGroup believes that security and technology evolution are the primary reasons for hesitancy among financial institutions to adopt wireless LAN capabilities. (Source: 802.11 Planet, CNET News.com) 

New solutions for Telcos' Hot Spot Billing
Galway, Ireland-based Am-Beo, which provides billing solutions for telcos, announced it was going to provide a billing solution for mobile operators which have integrated hot spots as a part of their current cellular network. The solution is for 2.5G/GPRS operators. The Am-Beo WLAN Solution will manage the roaming and revenue sharing among wireless carriers, and will run as an adjunct part of the carriers' existing billing infrastructure. Am-Beo's Wireless LAN Solution consists of two Am-Beo products -- a version of its rate-rec real-time rating and revenue chain management software tailored specifically for WLANs, and Roam Manager, which the company currently uses for TAP roaming on GSM and GPRS networks. Am-Beo has rolled out a trial of the product suite with Transat Technologies and will continue to have trials over the next few months. 

iPass upgrades client, adding roaming, increasing security
iPass of Redwood Shores, California has upgrade its "smart client" software. The new iPassConnect 2.3 client software communicates instantly with any access gateway which supports iPass's Generic Interface Specification (GIS), which is a client authentication method for hot spots. Cisco, Pronto, and Aptilo, among others, currently support GIS in their gateways. Another feature of the 2.3 release is On Campus Roaming (OCR), which lets users roam on and off a building or a campus without losing access to the network. Customer WLANs thus become part of the iPass Global Broadband Roaming virtual network service. Any campus WLAN which becomes part of the iPass network will be included in the iPassConnect directory of network POPs. The smart client now also integrates with the Sygate Personal Firewall software (and also to BlackIce and ZoneAlarm). For added security, iPass also allows an IT department to force the firewall to all users. (Source Fierce wireless)

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: WiFi networks are growing at a fast clip. This is confirmed by most studies, including the two mentioned above. More specifically, price point for SMC access points for twice the speed (around $129) is very attractive. SMC has increased the coverage too. 

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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