Keeping Connected to Your Web Hosting Business - Welcome to Wi-Fi
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Like cell phones, Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) depends on radio signals to work. Unlike cell phones, Wi-Fi uses the unlicensed spectrum to allow mobile devices such as laptop computers and personal digital assistants to make connections. Originally, Wi-Fi was intended to allow devices to connect to wireless local area networks. Now, however, it is often used for Internet access. A home or an office can be set up with Wi-Fi, allowing for a lot of portability for laptop users; a Wi-Fi router designed for home use might have a range of 150 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors.
Some wireless providers are specifically targeting web hosts as a market for their products and services. Andrew Shoffner, a project manager for WPCS/Heinz, spoke recently about setting up a point to multi-point network for a regional host in its office park. The web host has two T-1 connections; the new arrangement allowed the company to cancel one T-1 and keep the other as back up, using the wireless connection as their primary one to the Internet. “As far as mobility is concerned,” Shoffner elaborates, “any Web host can work remotely almost anywhere and remain connected to their own network or directly to their clients’ servers with expanding Wi-Fi hotspot access, residential Wi-Fi availability, reduced cost of PDAs and laptops and remote-access software.”
Yes, as anyone who has ever visited a Starbucks knows, Wi-Fi has made it out of the home and the office and found its niche as a type of free service offered by various businesses. You almost can’t visit a café in a bookstore without seeing people using their laptops, and many (if not most) of those are connected to the Internet via the local Wi-Fi “hotspot.” These hotspots are literally ubiquitous; they can be found all over the world. The original impetus was to support traveling executives, so many hotels, airports, and restaurants feature hotspots.
Michael Simon, CEO of remote access and administration provider 3am Labs, reflected recently on the progress of Wi-Fi as a business tool. “Even five years ago, a broadband connection outside a corporate environment – like in a home or a hotel – was the exception, not the rule,” he said in an interview with Web Host Industry Review. “Public hotspots were barely on the radar screen. Today, a person sitting in a café in Paris could use a tool of ours, such as LogMeIn – our remote-access service – to access and support their corporate network using nothing more than a PDA that is Wi-Fi or 3G enabled.”
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