Wi-fi obstacles

A bit of fairly well aimed Wi-fi cynicism from Richard Wray in The Guardian. Wray’s principle objections are: the total lack of roaming and a potential boom in laptop theft. I’m certain that Wray is on the money as far as roaming is concerned. Without (almost) universal roaming (use your Wi-fi-equipped device in any hotspot, not just your provider’s) Wireless Access is going nowhere.

Sat down today in Starbucks in Tottenham Court Road (a branch without Wi-fi service) and found myself, for the first time, within reach of three Wi-fi networks ? two of them apparently public. Wound up connecting to the neighbouring Caffe Nero’s Surf And Sip network ? ?5 for a day’s access ? much cheaper than Starbucks’ own service (from TMobile). That’s the kind of network density we’re going to need if this is going to become a real and popular phenomenon.

1 comment

  1. Completely agree about the roaming issue, but I’m bothered by a more fundamental question: where’s the market for all this WiFi hotspot access?

    I speak as someone who has routinely toted a GSM/HSCSD/GPRS card round with his laptop for the past six years, so I have had the internet on tap, if I wanted it, all of this time. OK, so it’s a bit slow, but you work around it, especially for email. The point is this: you find that you don’t use it that much. You don’t use it that much, even if you don’t have to pay for it, as I don’t. What you do is, you wait till you get back to the office because, against what we thought at the end of the last century, there’s not much on the internet hat can’t wait till you get home or back to the office. And for those things that can’t wait, there’s my GPRS card which I can use pretty much anywhere, even if it is a bit slow. And when 3G comes along on my network, it won’t even be slow any more.

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