Carrier WiFi

Interoute Plans 802.11g Services

Pan-European fixed-line services provider Interoute Telecommunications is jumping on the 802.11 bandwagon in an effort to ramp up data traffic on its network.

The company is taking the plunge by targeting corporates with the next flavor of wireless LAN technology, 802.11g, which is still in the standards process at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) (see Where Art Thou, 802.11g? ). Although the standard is not yet ratified, 802.11g products are already available, offering a maximum 54 Mbit/s across 2.4GHz links, the same unlicensed spectrum used by the most popular flavor, 802.11b, which offers a top speed of 11 Mbit/s (see Linksys Ramps Up 802.11g, Buffalo Ships 802.11g Kit and D-Link Announces 802.11g Chips). Because they use the same frequency, a migration path to 802.11g from 802.11b would, in theory, be easier than adding or moving to 802.11a equipment, which works in the 5MHz band.

Interoute, which only recently emerged from receivership (see Interoute's Back From the Dead and Like a Phoenix From the Ashes?), is not yet talking about its plan -- it is announcing its details officially during the week beginning February 10. However, according to a source familiar with the carrier's plans (and who wished to remain anonymous), the carrier plans to offer businesses a service that includes 802.11g equipment along with a pipe fat enough to handle the kind of increased corporate traffic that such high-speed links would generate.

No details are yet available about Interoute's equipment partners, though both Buffalo Technology (USA) Inc. and D-Link Systems Inc. are marketing products in the U.K.

Interoute already has a relationship with one of Europe's up-and-coming public hotspot service providers, Megabeam (see Interoute Links Megabeam). So is there a connection? Megabeam CEO Ryan Jarvis says there are talks between the two companies regarding a potential marketing arrangement, and that Interoute's plans can only help to expand the market in Megabeam's favor. "We are pleased that another service provider is actively promoting the adoption of wireless LAN systems in the enterprise market," says Jarvis, as this will help increase the number of business users with wireless LAN experience and boost demand for 802.11 access in public places such as airports and conference centers. "This will help to grow the addressable market for our public hotspot services," he adds.

While exact details of Interoute's new plan will not be revealed for a few more days, potential problems associated with the deployment of 802.11g systems already exist (see Interop Woes Smite 802.11g).

Just how Interoute plans to tackle such issues will be one of the main questions put to the service provider next week, and reported here on Unstrung.

— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung
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