Infonet beats hot-spot expectations

Infonet Services announced last week that it has exceeded its planned number of hot spots deployed for the year by 2,000 locations.

Infonet Services announced last week that it has exceeded its planned number of hot spots deployed for the year by 2,000 locations.

The multinational service provider said earlier this year that it expected to have 10,000 hot spots on its network by year-end. The carrier has 12,000 worldwide and says it will double that number by the end of 2005.

More users have come to expect broadband access in their homes, work places or while on the road, says Keith Waryas, research manager for wireless business network services at IDC. "Dialup is not practical if you have to send or download a 4-, 5- or 10-megabit PowerPoint file," he says.

As Wi-Fi becomes more widely deployed it is becoming one of the easier broadband technologies to use, Waryas says. As more venues support Wi-Fi, it will become more predictable for business users.

Infonet is teaming with 15 wireless ISPs and aggregators to make up its network of wireless LAN access points. The three largest partners include Boingo Wireless, GoRemote (formerly Gric Communications) and Togewanet, a Swiss company.

The service provider also has deployed its own hot spots in about 20 countries and plans to deploy additional access points in the Asia-Pacific region. Infonet says it has decided to deploy some of its own hot spots to increase its Wi-Fi coverage to specifically address customer requirements.

No slowing downWhile these Infonet-deployed hot spots are there to meet their customer's needs, the carrier says an added benefit is that it has more control over these network connections making it easier to offer service-level agreements (SLA). Service providers have yet to offer standard performance SLAs with Wi-Fi services, but IDC's Waryas says the guarantees might be available soon. Service providers are gaining more experience with Wi-Fi, and they are starting to learn network thresholds, he says.

Infonet offers Wi-Fi service as part of its MobileXpress remote access service package. MobileXpress lets customers securely access the Internet from 120 countries.

The service provider says it plans to offer mobile wireless support for its MobileXpress customers. Infonet says it will support wireless data services based on Code Division Multiple Access 2000 1x Evolution Data OptimizedGeneral Packet Radio Service and other 3G technologies.

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.