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Senior Editor

Wireless Services

Apr 21, 20042 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork Security

* The number of wireless connections to network services is expected to eclipse that of wireline connections

In a few short years, the number of wireless connections to network services is expected to eclipse that of wireline connections. That’s the conclusion of our lead story in our Service Providers section this week.

The key to that kind of growth will be the adoption of wireless data services intended to provide high-speed access to corporate computing resources. Our story, penned by Network World’s Jim Duffy, looks at the technologies behind these offerings.

Wi-Fi and EV-DO: The more familiar Wi-Fi enables 11M to 54M bit/sec wireless access within 300 feet of an access point. The less familiar EV-DO, which stands for Evolution-Data Only, is a 3G cellular WAN technology intended to turn your cell phone into a powerful data transmission tool. It supports speeds of up to 2.4M bit/sec, far exceeding previous generation cellular transmission rates of 144K bit/sec.

EV-DO service is hard to find, though some big service providers are starting to roll it out. Verizon, for example, has two trials – one in San Diego, the other in Washington, D.C. – with plans to expand to more metropolitan areas later this year. Monet Mobile Networks, a small operator, launched service in Duluth, Minn., two years ago.

Wi-Fi hot spots are more plentiful, but customer acceptance has been lukewarm because of pricing and coverage issues, among others. Workers accessing the service at hot spots in coffee houses and airports have been charged multiple connection fees between $6 and $10 when moving between hot spots. Coverage has been spotty, which makes signing up for monthly service with a single provider a risky and potentially expensive practice.

Fixed wireless: Hasn’t had a lot of success. Fixed wireless, which is intended to provide multimegabit last-mile services less expensively and faster than comparable wireline offerings from the RBOCs. Companies such as Teligent and Winstar tried unsuccessfully to sell fixed wireless point-to-point and dedicated Internet access services to businesses in the late 1990s and early 2000s.