My partner is in Adelaide this weekend for the festivals, and filing stories for our web sites, so internet access was an issue to be considered. Of course, dialup is always available, but as she has a wireless enabled laptop, I thought I’d check out some wireless hotspots she could tap into. A quick bit of research, and I fell over an article which points out that Adelaide CBD is one big wireless hotspot.
“A network of 50 wireless access hot spots are peppered around central Adelaide – on lamp posts, traffic lights, under the canopy in the main shopping precinct of Rundle Mall, at the ultra cool Cibo coffee bar and the historic Adelaide City Council chambers. Each has a line-of-sight range of about 200 metres, and the resulting WLAN cable-free network, called citilan, is believed to be the largest in the world.”
Unfortunately it’s all pretty new, and as far as I can tell, only available at present to subscribers to either one of two Adelaide ISPs which are handling the technology end.
But what a fantastic idea. Basically, if you have a wireless enabled laptop or PDA, you can be online from anywhere in the CBD. Now that’s connectivity. And brilliant for small business, no longer having to worry about or pay the cost to organise broadband connections in an office. Or what about someone needing to make a presentation to a client – perhaps an architect or designer. Now you can say ‘meet you over coffee’ in a cafe, and be online and show your wares.
Wireless is a real opportunity, and with the cost now very low (after some high prices a couple of years ago), it’s a really viable idea. It certainly solved our network issues at home. Our home network (separate to our office down the street) now includes three laptops, a Mac G4, a wireless printer and all shared over a wireless network with broadband ADSL connection. Visitors do laugh, but that’s what happens when you both need computers for work, and have a daughter with a laptop. Cost to network – about $500. Including the wireless access point and wireless network cards for the laptops. That’s well within the budget of a small business. And our latest toy, an HP all in one printer/fax/scanner, cost less than $700 and is connected wirelessly as well, so it too can move around the house.