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Bring home the magic of wi-fi

June 15, 2004 12:45 IST

It is a splendid evening beside the Dal lake. As the sun sets into the blue waters like an orange spot, sprinkling multitudes of colours on the skies, verses of a poetry flash across your mind.

You want to convey your feelings at that moment to your sweetheart. 'Open' your laptop, 'compose' your inspiration, click 'send'. Because, Dal lake is a wi-fi hotspot.

You are in a hotel lobby, expecting an urgent e-mail from your client. You can check your mails from the laptop as the hotel is wi-fi enabled.

Wi-fi technology provides users high-speed mobile Internet access without cords or cables. Offices and enterprises can now bid adieu to the mess of numerous wires and cords dangling out of each systems. At low costs, organisations can move over to wi-fi technology, giving more mobility to its staff and clients.

Sanjiv Khandelwal, chief executive of EZ-COMM wireless, said, "Awareness about wi-fi is fast growing. Over 80 per cent of the laptops in the market today are wi-fi enabled."

"EZ-COMM Wireless operates a roaming networks across leading hotels in India and the Mumbai Airport. Restaurants such as Zenzi and Mandarin are also building this network," Khandelwal said.

EZ-COMM has wi-fi enabled homes of many industry bigwigs, he said.

"A secure network by EZ-COMM includes a firewall, VPN server and virtual LAN. Companies can start wi-fi at as little as Rs 1.5 lakh. The cost is dependent on the area covered and functionality," Khandelwal said.

However, he said proper equipment and security precaution must be taken to build a wi-fi network. If the operator fails in this, the system is open to threats.

"The price of usage depends on location. It can start at as little as Rs 50 per hour at a mall to Rs 250 for an hour at a five star hotel. On large roaming account, a user can avail of the service at Rs 42 per hour, which is comparable to dial-up rates," Khandelwal said.

Tushar Sighat, general manager, sales, of D-link (India) Ltd, said, "Organisations of all sizes will benefit greatly from wi-fi. Take the example of an organization, which has offices spread over two floors. Connecting all the departments on these floors through cables will cost around Rs 40,000. But installing one wireless access point will cost only Rs 8,000. And this is a one-time charge."

"Once the access points are installed, the entire office becomes a hotspot. Officials can use their laptops for Net access even on the staircases and balconies. If your client is coming to your office, you don't need to confine him to a particular place to access the net. He doesn't need to use your office computers. He can access internet at the conference room while discussing business," Tushar said. "The same system can be used in factories, offices, hospitals and schools," Tushar said.

It will take around Rs 11,000 to wi-fi enable a typical 2 BHK flat, Tushar said. The wireless access device will cost around Rs 8,000 and the wireless card that interfaces the user's PC or laptop with the system will cost Rs 3,000.

More than one member of the family can access the Web simultaneously at any time, anywhere inside the house using this system, Tushar said.

In February, D-Link launched wireless gateway DSA-3100. This is an Ethernet-based gateway that manages intelligent authentication, authorisation and accounting for wired and wireless users.

The company's AirPlusXtremeG+ DWL-2000AP+ is an enhanced 802.11g wireless access point for use indoors, the company said.

Sujit Singh, country manager, Dax Networks, said, "Wi-fi is very useful for corporates. They view it as a convenient extension of the existing wired network. It is a feasible option for networking between buildings and conference halls."

"However, licencing is an issue of concern here. Only the 802.11b platform is delicenced by the authorities. It can be used inside defined premises, not interfering with public areas. For providing wi-fi connectivity in public areas, the provider has to take regulatory permission," Singh said.

802.11b at 11 Mbps is very slow compared to the 802.11g platform. But it is not delicenced. Also, performance of wireless networking is dependent on extraneous factors such as weather and equipment efficiency.

Sameer Bhatt, manager, Dax Networks, said, "We launched wi-fi facility around Dal Lake in Srinagar. Tourists can access Internet while on a boat ride. We tied up with a local Internet service provider and through our access points installed at strategic locations, the entire area was brought under coverage."

David Appaswamy, chief communication officer, Sify, said, "Wi-fi is not just about surfing. It is a tool that will help a business traveller use his time productively."

Sify's WiZones provide broadband connectivity of up to 384 kbps. Prepaid cards for accessing the Net can be bought online. The departure lounges of the Chennai and Delhi international airports already have WiZones.
Pilakkot Vinu in Mumbai