Metronet is also offering one and two megabit services
Independent bookshops and coffee shops have been using Wi-Fi for a while to woo customers but the corporations are moving in. Starbucks last year started putting Wi-Fi networks into 1,200 of its US stores, charging users $6 a day or $30 a month for unlimited use. Hilton, Marriott and other hotel chains have begun installing systems in lobbies, guest rooms and restaurants and Boeing is putting the technology in aeroplanes. Lufthansa is already offering an inflight service and British Airways is expected to follow shortly.
Its cheapest option, PayGo500, costs ￡10 per month and offers traditional broadband hp laptop batteries download speeds of 512kbps and uploads of 256kbps. Users can download up to 200MB per month free, thereafter they pay an additional 2.3p per megabyte. The service is capped so the maximum a user can pay on this tariff is ￡23.99 per month no matter how much they download.
Metronet is also offering one and two megabit services. The systems runs via BT's ADSL exchanges so won't be available to all users.
The pair are gadget freaks, scouting out the latest technology. The array of technology used to produce the programmes is impressive. "In the past, we used Getac military spec laptops, and a World Communicator dual ISDN satellite dish, which was brilliant. Then Real Producer for compressing files for FTP transfer and Adobe Premiere to edit, store and forward film sequences.
"Jay had Olympus digital cameras for expandable stills," he continues, "and we both used Uni-Pac 30s solar systems - incredible for charging camera hp laptop batteries anywhere.
This month he has been overseeing the installation of the first radio transmitters to kick-start a pilot scheme for Westminster City Council workers. The whole of Soho, the test area, will be unwired, for want of a better description. Workers will be able to send data back to base at the push of a button instead of returning to their offices to complete paperwork or enter data at a screen. Remote audio-visual transmitters will also be able to tip-off officials about unacceptable noise levels, currently very difficult to police. Wilder has grand plans for enabling people to find and even reserve parking spaces from their cars, as well as social schemes to link isolated groups to support workers.
While the 802.11b format, as used by existing Centrino notebook PCs, offers speeds laptop batteries of 11mbps, 802.11g, which works on the same wavelength as 802.11b (2.4Ghz) has much quicker theoretical download speeds of 54mbps. The new format is also backwards compatible with 802.11b. Although 802.11g has yet to be formally ratified, 802.11g products from companies like Linksys and Apple have sold well.
It is a little ironic then that a technology that was such a failure over a decade ago should bounce back in such a spectacular style. Hot spots, or location-based network access services, were big news in the late 80s and nearly 90s when mobile phone network coverage was rather FPCBP155 battery piecemeal. Only they were used for voice calls rather than accessing data. Four services were launched; Phonepoint, Mercury Callpoint, Zonephone, and, by far the most famous, Hutchison's Rabbit system. They worked by enabling a subscriber to make and receive phone calls as long as they were within 100 metres of a transmitter. These were sited at train stations, airports and garage forecourts.
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