By Mark Hachman  |  Posted 2004-11-10 Print this article Print

-Mobile Software"> The WBA lacks representation of French and Scandinavian WISPs (wireless ISPs), members acknowledged. Without naming names, Yu said the alliance hopes to rectify that situation by early next year. The new roaming agreements will be reflected in T-Mobiles Connection Manager software, which stores WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) keys and displays nearby hot spots; and its offline HotSpot Locator, a database of hot spots where T-Mobile users can connect. That suited Patrick Ryan, a director of global channels at Richardson, Texas-based security firm Network Intelligence Inc., just fine. Ryan, who travels both to Asia and Europe selling solutions to clients such as EDS and IBM, said he and other business travelers schedule a block of meetings in a country or region, then try and hunt down a hot spot to connect back to the office.
Ryan, a T-Mobile subscriber who was asked to speak at the T-Mobile news conference here at the San Francisco International Airport, said he uses the HotSpot Locator tool to hunt relevant hot spots.
More importantly, Ryan now also uses the hot spots to make VOIP calls. "Before I went, I went down to Frys, bought a … throwaway router and tossed it in my bag," he said in an interview. "I brought along my [VOIP phone], hooked it all up, tried it out. It worked like a charm." The amount of surcharges or tariffs that will be added to the wireless bill are unknown, although the market will prevent foreign WISPs from pushing the tab too high, said Chris Clark, chief executive of wireless broadband at BT Retail, a division of British Telecom. The topic is the subject of a current focus group, he said in an interview. Ideally, the partnership will result in a one-ISP, one-country relationship, Clark said. He said he doubted that the European Union would see the relationship as anti-competitive, especially as BT supplies the baseline Wi-Fi services for France Telecom, or Orange, and Vodafone. For now, the WBA has not worked out which ISPs will be responsible for covering the Chunnel train running from London to Paris, or whether they will compete to provide Wi-Fi services inside airplanes serving multiple countries, Clark said. He said he was unaware of any competing initiatives among other European WISPs. T-Mobiles Wi-Fi hot spots are also found at SFO. An airport at the northern end of Silicon Valley without Wi-Fi would be a little embarrassing, said John M. Payne, chief information officer at SFO. Customers asked about the 802.11g spec soon after Apple Computer Inc. announced its AirPort Extreme, Payne said in an interview. "Its nice to have," he said. "Personally, though, I dont think people choose an airport for their Internet connection." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.


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