Hotspots: Mixed Nuts?

With the failure of the U.K.'s MyZones Ltd. only the latest sign of how the hotspot market is dying on the vine, you'd have to be craaazy to get into public access wireless LAN at the moment, right?

Perhaps not, as both Colubris Networks Inc. and Trapeze Networks Inc. are talking up new hotspots deals. Each equipment vendor appears to feel it has a slightly different approach to delivering new public 802.11 networks. Both are offering technology that enables what some are calling "mixed use" hotspot networks.

Colubris, which already has a foothold in the hotspot kit market, has a new deal to roll out access points for U.K. wireless ISP Broadreach Networks Ltd.'s planned European network. Colubris's CEO Barry Fougere would not say how many access points the deal involved, although he noted that Broadreach already has 500 APs installed in railway stations and other public areas.

Broadreach is planning to use Colubris's "virtual AP" technology to offer what it calls a "white-label network" for other operators that want to piggyback onto its infrastructure. The virtual AP technology uses VLAN tagging to support separate services from a single AP, so that users can redirected to different public access portals and content over the same connection (see Colubris's Enterprise Ambitions for more on this).

Meanwhile, Trapeze has it own take on what the firm's Dan Simone, VP of product and worldwide marketing, calls "mixed use networks."

The firm has teamed up with Nomadix Inc. and PicoPoint B.V. to create what the partners are calling the "WorkZones" alliance [ed. note: bleurgh].

The vendors plan to combine Trapeze's switched wireless LAN infrastructure with Nomadix's access control units and billing capabilities from PicoPoint.

Simone says that users that get the network can be separated into public and private varieties. The private users can log onto the private Trapeze network. Public users are redirected by the Nomadix box to a hotspot payment portal and/or content. The PicoPoint AAA server handles any backend credit card billing.

Simone says that the partners have already sold the system to a "major airport" and hope to announce the deal soon.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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