CafeNet alters Wellington business space

The "personal connected space" of Wellingtonians is growing and altering the work patterns of many.

The “personal connected space” of Wellingtonians is growing and altering the work patterns of many.

People can and do log on to the internet or access a virtual private network to their office LAN from an increasing amount of Wi-Fi-accessible space around the central business district, says Carl Penwarden (pictured right) of network provider Citylink.

Penwarden was giving a rundown on the growth and use of Citylink’s wireless network CafeNet to last week’s Wireless Forum in the capital.

CafeNet has now made about 60 public spaces — cafes, libraries, hotels and conventions centres and central Wellington’s main streets — Wi-Fi-capable, and is seeing an increasing penetration of its network into private business locations, with more than 20 Wi-Fi zones of that kind to date.

“We are growing organically at about 10 new access points a month,” Penwarden says.

Citylink had lined up some practical case studies demonstrating the change in business patterns. Chris O’Connell (pictured left), from business intelligence company Radar Guidance, showed how, with use of the CafeNet, Citylink’s backbone and the Callplus Commverge phone-across-Citylink service, the company’s staffers all over the country can access common data sources, communicate data and videoconference from any of the many wireless “hot zones”. In case the audience was in any doubt of the last, O’Connell set up a videoconference call from conference venue Te Papa to colleague David Preece back in the office.

Penwarden acknowledges, however, that multipoint videoconferencing is rather more difficult.

“It’s possible, using a bridge; everyone calls into the same point and you [multiplex] the video streams. But there’s a significant distance to go with multi-party conferencing.”

Hanging Around, a company that constructs and erects advertising billboards, can now instantly communicate a shot of the billboard in place.

It uses a Sony Clio and transfers it via CafeNet to its office and thence by email out to the client.

The press photographer’s room at Wellington’s (Westpac) Stadium has been CafeNet-equipped for fast transmission of images. Penwarden showed a letter from photographer Ross Setford, pointing out that he could send pictures not only from the stadium but all the way down Wellington’s main street, Lambton Quay, on his way to another assignment. Setford says he’s waiting for CityLink to put in an extension to Oriental Bay, so he can continue sending on his way home.

Penwarden outlined some of CafeNet’s further plans, including a foray into public sites in central Palmerston North within the next two months and a voice-over-Wi-Fi service in collaboration with Australia’s FreshTel, which provides USB-connected handset and software to convert a PC to a phone.

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