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By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2004-11-19 Print this article Print

: Getting hip on Route 66 "> I wondered how long until just last week when I found myself in the once-thriving (now nearly ghost) town of Williams, Ariz. In this fast-paced world of evolving roaming agreements and daily strides forward in mobile security, its easy to take technological advances for granted. It takes only a short hop to a small town off old Route 66 in the desert to remind yourself that Wi-Fi really is not everywhere, and broadband Internet access—or, for that matter, Internet access period—is not yet ubiquitous. In Williams, the only place in town where I could find Internet access of any kind was a we-make-copies-while-you-wait store that boasted an overhead sign extending fax and e-mail services as well. Unfortunately, the wait was a long one and not just because of dial-up speeds. The "closed" sign was hanging in the window whenever I stopped by. But as long as theres a telephone, dial-up is still alive and well, and iPass offers 800-number access and aggregates that service as well.
But such quaint scenarios may soon go the way of range riders and gunfights at high noon. Access is infiltrating such locations as Rio Rancho, N.M. And WiMax, with its promise of communitywide wireless broadband, offers the potential to bring high-speed Internet access to any town that wants it.
Is WiMax too good to be true? Click here to read Davids Courseys column. That will still leave a need, however, for security and roaming agreements that resolve charges across providers to a single bill for the customer. But the trends seem to be pointing toward increasing consolidation of services in what was once a fragmented remote-access scenario. We could speculate ad infinitum about whether the trend will spawn acquisitions or well see coordinated services through partnerships. In the meantime, lets just enjoy the fact that remote access for the enterprise just keeps getting better. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.

Carol Ellison is editor of's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

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