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What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi refers to the current industry standard for wireless LANs (Local Area Networks), which provide users with high-speed mobile Internet access without the inconvenience of cords and cables. Wi-Fi is based on the 802.11b platform, developed and supported by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Wi-Fi networks consist of access points that generate transmissions of a specific radio frequency designated for such use. The signals can be picked up by laptop computers and other mobile devices through either built-in or added-on network components. As a result, users gain Internet connectivity up to 50 times faster than with standard dial-up modems. Major computer manufacturers now offer notebook computers with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, and any standard notebook computer can be made Wi-Fi-enabled by simply plugging in an appropriate Wi-Fi network (PCMCIA) card.

Three Major Factors Add Up to an Unstoppable Wireless Trend

Conditions now favor your deployment of a wireless Internet access system. The growth curve for Wi-Fi adoption began its steep climb in 2002, and has shot skyward, driven by the convergence of three factors:

1. The Critical Mass of User Demand

Millions of business travelers are now using wireless Internet access, and thousands of businesses are providing access points to serve them. Users of laptop and handheld computers are demanding access to the power of the Internet virtually anywhere they go - commercial buildings, restaurants, airports, hotels, convention centers - you name it.

  • "By 2006, there are expected to be 89,000 public Wi-Fi network access points and more than 99 million Wi-Fi users worldwide…" - USA Today, November 13, 2002
  • A multi-billion-dollar investment is underway by every major technology player, including IBM, Intel, Cisco, Apple, HP and Dell.
  • Wi-Fi service providers such as T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless, Verizon, Boingo, Pronto, GRIC, HereUare, VoiceStream Wireless, Ipass and many others are expanding their wireless reach.
  • In 2000, 93% of the "online population" (or 91million people) took at least one trip of 100 miles or more.
  • Demand for one-day access grew 276% from 2000 to 2001 (200,000 to 750,000)

2. Technology Maturity

Wireless Internet access standards are now established, and technology costs have decreased dramatically. Wi-Fi is supported by virtually all major technology companies and has been proven reliable in commercial buildings and business parks around the world. Laptop manufacturers are now including Wi-Fi as a standard feature in their new models.

3. Technical and User Support

For easier, painless adoption, Wi-Fi is increasingly packaged with support, so your staff members won't be required to be computer or Internet experts. HotAir assumes full responsibility for maintaining the equipment and providing user support. HotAir allows you to tap into this important capability at just the right time... in a way that's easy and virtually risk-free.

Learn more about Wi-Fi at www.weca.net.

         
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