Walker readies airport hotspot

Walker Wireless expects to have a wireless internet access "hotspot" up and running at Auckland airport by mid-August.

Walker Wireless expects to have a wireless internet access “hotspot” up and running at Auckland airport by mid-August.

“We’re building the back-end infrastructure and getting authentication and billing software and servers installed,” Walker Wireless networks general manager Andrew McPherson says.

The first airport hotspot, where users can log on to the net via a laptop and wireless network access card, will be in the Qantas departure lounge.

Walker sales and marketing manager Alan Lee says the company is still working on the commercial aspects. The hotspot concept was trialled at the airport and at BP service stations and several hotels, restaurants and cafes last year, but the trials didn’t include billing and authentication, McPherson says.

Walker Wireless has developed proprietary billing software and is using an open source Radius server from Australian provider Open Source Consultants.

The project, for which Walker Wireless is using the 802.11b wireless standard to provide wireless LANs, has been delayed because the company has adopted wideband CDMA technology for its broadband wireless rollout.

Lee says the company is “reviewing the synergies” between 802.11b, also known as Wi-Fi, and W-CDMA, “but they’re very complementary”.

Walker later plans to roll the hotspots out in other locations, including Starbucks cafes.

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