commentary If you listened to all the spin over the past year you could have been forgiven for predicting the eventual death of the humble Wi-Fi hotspot. Pre-WiMax and third-generation (3G) mobile broadband networks have dominated your writer's conversations with both carriers and vendors.
commentaryIf you listened
to all the spin over the past year you could have been forgiven
for predicting the eventual death of the humble Wi-Fi
hotspot. Pre-WiMax and third-generation (3G) mobile broadband networks
have dominated your writer's conversations with both carriers and
However, some time spent out in the field reveals a veritable
rash of Wi-Fi network building going on around Australia and New
IT managers at large corporates are generally pretty cagey
when it comes to revealing the inner details of their networks,
but their counterparts at educational institutions have been
anything but in the last couple of weeks.
IT managers from Perth's Edith Cowan and Sydney's Macquarie
Universities, as well as Dunedin's Otago Polytechnic college and
the Victorian Department of Education and Training have all
spoken publicly about their large Wi-Fi implementations.
One of the common threads running through these networks is a
focus on low implementation costs -- perhaps to be expected from
the education sector, which historically hasn't had many spare
dollars to splash around.
For example, Sydney's Macquarie University spent only
AU$50,000 on its network, which covers some 15 percent of its
Speaking about the implementation to a Sydney conference,
Macquarie's director of IT services joked she had initially asked
However, the other common thread is the simple fact of
Despite the funding limits, the discount approach worked for
Macquarie, with the new network being used at some time by some
18 percent of all the students who visited the campus during last
In real terms that's around 4,000 people.
These implementations demonstrate the ability of IT managers
with a bit of ingenuity to think outside the box and do a lot
with a small amount of resources.
Not every organisation is going to be able to be able to
afford a batch of hot new top-range Wi-Fi access points, but
there are still options available.
They also demonstrate the increased ability of Wi-Fi access
scenarios to meet the needs of an increasingly laptop-equipped
student and workforce.
Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, such rollouts show
that Wi-Fi is not dead and is not an airport lounge novelty. The
technology works and it deserves mindshare.
What do you think about large Wi-Fi networks? Are
they still too expensive or are you considering one for your own
organisation? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.