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Demographics, Devices and Cafes: Public Wi-Fi Revisited


A look at the trends behind the global increase in the wireless hotspot and how this may may postively impact the less-than-successful attempts in the US to bring Municiple Wi-Fi into a sustainable …

A look at the trends behind the global increase in the wireless hotspot and how this may may postively impact the less-than-successful attempts in the US to bring Municiple Wi-Fi into a sustainable mode of operation. A review of success and failure , lessons learned and recommendations. Approaches include collaborative efforts that involve the work performed at the community level in the "free wi-fi" movement , the private sector and more secure public sector institutions to make public wi-fi a success.

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  • LONG TAIL: For kids growing up in a digital world, these unique web resources are becoming central to popular culture, Now, educators must begin to incorporate the features of mash-ups and remixes in learning, to stimulate “creative tinkering and the play of imagination.” - John Seely Brownhe Decameron Web began as the WWW "translation" of a Storyspace document which was created by a group of graduate and undergraduate students in Italian Studies at Brown University during the academic year 1994-1995, under the direction of Prof. Massimo Riva (Associate Professor of Italian Studies at Brown U). Since 1995
  • WIRELESS UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONSMULTI CASTWireless Multicast Roaming A major challenge for a multicast client in a wireless environment is to maintain its multicast group membership when moved about the WLAN. Drops in the wireless connection that move from AP-to-AP can cause a disruption in the multicast application of a client. Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) plays an important role in the maintenance of dynamic group membership information.A basic comprehension of IGMP is important to understand what happens to the multicast session of a client when it roams about the network. In a Layer 2 roaming case, sessions are maintained simply because the foreign AP, if configured properly, already belongs to the multicast group, and traffic is not tunneled to a different anchor point on the network. Layer 3 roaming environments are a little more complex in this manner, and, dependent upon what tunneling mode you have configured on your controllers, the IGMP messages sent from a wireless client can be affected. The default mobility tunneling mode on a controller is asymmetrical. This means that return traffic to the client is sent to the anchor WLC and then forwarded to the foreign WLC, where the associated client connection resides. Outbound packets are forwarded out the foreign WLC interface. In symmetrical mobility tunneling mode, both inbound and outbound traffic are tunneled to the anchor controller. IP Multicast is a technique for one to many communication over an IP infrastructure. It scales to a larger receiver population by not requiring prior knowledge of who or how many receivers there are. Multicast uses network infrastructure efficiently by requiring the source to send a packet only once, even if it needs to be delivered to a large number of receivers. The nodes in the network take care of replicating the packet to reach multiple receivers only when necessary. The most common low-level protocol to use multicast addressing is UDP. By its nature, UDP is not reliable - messages can be lost or delivered out of order. Reliable multicast protocols such as PGM have been developed to add loss detection and retransmission on top of IP Multicast.Key concepts in IP Multicast include an IP Multicast group address, a multicast distribution tree and receiver driven tree creation.An IP Multicast group address is used by sources and the receivers to send and receive content. Sources use the group address as the IP destination address in their data packets. Receivers use this group address to inform the network that they are interested in receiving packets sent to that group. For example, if some content is associated with group, the source will send data packets destined to Receivers for that content will inform the network that they are interested in receiving data packets sent to the group The receiver "joins" The protocol used by receivers to join a group is called the Internet Group Management Protocol or IGMP.


  • 1. Trends and Technology Series
    Demographics, Devices and Cafes: Public Wi-Fi Revisited
    irvin kovar strategic technology advisor
  • 2. trends
    iPhone, Blackberry and dual-mode devices
    are changing the landscape rapidly…
    Wi-Fi use grows in popularity as more people buy iPhones with improved seamless log-on capabilities.
    In the second quarter, AT&T (News - Alert) handled nearly 15 million Wi-Fi connections on its network, a 41 percent increase over the first quarter of this year.
    With approximately 25.6 million connections so far in 2009, Wi-Fi connections this year have already surpassed the 20 million connections seen in all of 2008.
    Dual-mode (cellular and Wi-Fi) iPhone and Blackberry
    applications are driving a substantial increase in WIFI hot-spot connections. Thousands of niche applications and fast performance keep people mobile and on-line.
  • 3. trends
    As a result public Wi-Fi Hotspots grow 400% worldwide
    The number of public Wi-Fi hotspots around the world is on the rise and has grown from 53,746 in 2004 to 258,853 in June 2009, a 400% increase, according to a report from JiWire, which also noted 9% growth between January and June of this year.
    Source: Jwire – Mobile Audience Insight Survey
  • 4. trends
    Apple dominates Wi-Fi use…and AppStore names gaming as top download
    In statistics collected specifically from North America, the report noted that the number of mobile devices accessing Wi-Fi hotspots grew by 79% in the first half of the year.
    Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch remain the most popular Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices in North America, collectively representing 97.8% of all mobile-device connections. The Palm Pre debuted as the #5 most popular mobile device in June 2009, the report said.
    Source: Jwire – Mobile Audience Insight Survey
  • 5. trends
    Cafés double as offices and libraries…but are we studying?
    There has been an 18.4% increase in monthly total public Wi-Fi users from December 2008 - June 2009.
    Wi-Fi enabled entertainment devices - such as the Sony PSP and the iPod Touch remain popular on public Wi-Fi hotspots.
    Though more than half of Wi-Fi users in North America access Wi-Fi service from hotel/resort hotspots (55.3%), the research revealed that 10.5% now use Wi-Fi services in local cafés and coffee shops as extended home offices or college libraries, and 83% of these users connect locally in their own neighborhood.
    Those who use Wi-Fi in cafés and coffee shops comprise a desirable demographic that may be planning more big-ticket purchases in the near future, JiWire said. This audience is predominantly affluent, male and between ages 25-49. Four in 10 are business decision makers with management titles.
    Source: Jwire – Mobile Audience Insight Survey
  • 6. trends
    The “gaming” connection to civic participation?
    Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the survey included a sample of 1,102 US youth age 12-17.  It analyzed the relationship between gaming and civic experiences among teens to test the hypothesis that gaming might be prompting teen withdrawal from communities.
    Instead, it found that gaming can be tied to civic and political engagement because youth get experience playing games that mirror aspects of civic and political life, such as thinking about moral and ethical issues and making decisions about city or community affairs, according to Pew.
    The survey also shows that youth who have such civic gaming experiences are more likely to be civically engaged in the offline world. They are more likely than others are to go online to get information about current events, to try to persuade others how to vote in an election, to say they are committed to civic participation, and to raise money for charity.
    Source: Pew Internet
  • 7. biz models
    A mix of pricing models may be best depending on municipal objectives and policy…
    Free – provided by local government or with the support of a sponsor for co-branding opportunities. Local businesses can diminish operating costs; the city is more attractive to new residents who see a “digital downtown” as a value-add.
    Free Supported by Advertising – banner advertising that promotes local advertisements for local vendors. Google Adsense is being used to maximize advertising revenues with great granularity.
    Subscription Based – a premium-service with guaranteed features and value. for participants
    It would seem that the potential market for Muni Wi-Fi service grows as businesses and communities converge upon their need for information, entertainment and social networking. One key metric is finding out: who are the Notebook and Tablet PC owners in our city?
    Source: Ipsos Insight Technologies
  • 8. biz models
    Lower-income or non-users would most readily adopt a no cost model…
    Of those adults who are interested in jumping to muni Wi-Fi service, an equal percentage indicated they would sign up for the speedier premium service that would require a reduced monthly fee (40%) as would sign up for the slower free wireless service option (40%).
    In contrast, the majority of those (>60%) who either rely on dial-up connections at home right now or do not have internet access at home would opt for the free-service. Migration of current dial-up users to Wi-Fi-based broadband may represent an attractive expansion of rich media and location-specific advertising targets for some market players, according to Ipsos.
    The volume of users that could migrate to municipal Wi-Fi access has the potential to disrupt the online status quo in the US, since users would not only likely switch Internet service providers, but likely their current homepages and web search preferences as well. This also could include a greater focus on location-driven search requests and results.
    Source: Ipsos Insight Technologies
  • 9. free the net
    Public WIFI has had its challenges…
    Private firms offered services that limited the true global reach
    of the user. Open, no-charge networks are now breaking down these barriers
    Large-scale private initiatives have proven to be too slow to market and requests for funding considerable.
    Costs of supporting the infrastructure were too high, and private companies ultimately had to answer to shareholder concerns.
    Based on the status of some of the previously mentioned municipal broadband projects and companies, it appears that many of the projects are having economic issues that have caused municipalities or companies to change their plans, delay their plans, or completely back out.
    "After thorough review and analysis of our municipal wireless business we have decided that making significant further investments in this business could be inconsistent with our objective of maximizing shareholder value," EarthLink's Huff added.
  • 10. free the net
    However, non-profit technology groups (and business)
    have continued to expand Wi-Fi to serve the community…
    Technology groups like FREE NETWORKS.ORG exist to create simple community based ad-hoc networks - as long as it is for reasonable personal, non-commercial use.
    This trend is enabling community-based expansion of a WIFI network, and relies on the goodwill of the existing DSL access owner.
    Some risk may be inherent in these models where ISP and Carrier Terms of Service may be violated. Better public WIFI solutions can conceivably these control abuses, but for the most part a high degree control seems to be exhibited by local business or activists with strong community ties.
    Finally, free and paid WIFI has been now a feature of major business entities like Starbuck and McDonalds.
  • 11. free the net
    Public WIFI is seen by some as a fundamental right…
    Younger generations see DSL access as affordable to business and government and a cost that should not be passed down to the mobile user.
    Reading, surfing and networking are seen as an integral part of the daily activity of the mobile user – like a portal book
    A longer stay means, a higher chance of being influenced by the surroundings, a higher rate of impression and selling products or services
    Better access to government information should not come at a cost
    Promotes a sense of “good-will” and welcome in a location
    Word of mouth promotion to the “free” portal or location attracts users and groups of people
    A proven higher degree of “loyalty” to the physical location with “free wifi”
    39,000,000 hotspots identified world-wide and growing
  • 12. free the net
    Counter-arguments…its just a convenience.
    What about public interest such as religious groups, political content, and libellous content? How is the municipality responsible for claims and concerns?
    WIFI is never really free – it must be funded somehow. Either through new grants from other levels of government or new taxation policy. Public messaging, open access will eventually come in conflict with advertising on open portals as a way to pay for the service.
    WIFI and wireless technology is not static and evolving at a rapid rate. Large scale network investments run the risk of being obsolete too rapidly to service ever increasing needs of bandwidth and applications.
    Business has already made significant investment in public WIFI solutions either paid or “free” – but see competing with a heavily funded local government as unfair competition. It will eventually drive them out of the WIFI solution space and take away a tool used for competitive advantage in the marketplace.
    Public WIFI will hamper innovation and runs the risk of remaining static overall. Business may be able to under-cut the cost of the municipality and cause wholesale disaffection with the service and destabilize the investment
    The system will have to answer as to how they will create policy for porn-filtering, to protect against hackers, organized crime and those who have questionable agendas when they stumble upon a free wi-fi network.
  • 13. social capital
    Applications and programs drive adoption…
    Public WIFI allows physical places to nurture social capital through access to programs and social networks which have the power to bind the community and inspire the individual
    Economic Developers of the New Economy
    The on-line presence of local government to promote “networking” events, agendas, groups at career development centres, has replaced the traditional lobby for big “smoke stacks”.
    Address Niche Community Needs for Development,
    Promoting local programs and local entrepreneurs
    at the CDC brings in new participants. Free wifi changes the foot-traffic and increases participation.
    Neighbourhood and Community Content
    Non-profit programs that teach the use of simple
    on-line content creation tools and empowering individuals. These can skills can be transferred into the creation of on-line micro-businesses that enrich the community.
    Neighbourhood Reclamation and Mixed Use Projects
    Neighbourhood reclamation projects where arts and mixed-use business residential, are unique in concept, can further benefit from WIFI to create mini pockets of “digital downtown”.
    Source: Cities Online: Urban Development and the Internet – John Horriagn, Pew Internet
  • 14. program support
    Bottom up initiatives – identifying community leaders and supporting their community vision. Poll and survey utilization rates – then make the appropriate investment.
    Encouraging the “long-tail” – acknowledging the Canadian Entrepreneur who is connected, creative and web-savvy. Develop micro-strategies that acknowledge community business “character”
    Financial support, public funding, better wired services for local governments is essential to supporting “performance”. Also publicity and media support to raise profile.
    Bridging the interests of “low-income” communities. Low-income need more access to essential services.
    Vigilance for Net Neutrality – the government can help protect the open and entrepreneurial nature of the Internet as Internet.
    Public WIFI will require policy that acknowledges the network as a public service first – a gateway to help communities better serve themselves…
    Public-purpose media…
    education, jobs, immigration,
    health care, and other vital issues…
    Helping low-income join the mainstream.
  • 15. http://www.muniwireless.com/
    public wi-fi 2.0
    Recommendations for better Public WI-FI…
    Better Sponsorship for Stability-Protective Partnerships Essential
    Business cannot be relied upon, even through contract to deliver fully on the public contract. Public WIFI needs institutions and entities (schools and libraries for instance) that will not be so readily subject to market-forces and changes in leadership and leadership ideologies and priorities.
    Training – De-Mystify Technology for Key Users
    Train residents, specifically those technologically challenged, on how to make meaningful use of their new found wireless Internet service.
    Needs Assessment – Niche Deployments Based on Needs
    Bottom-up instead of top-down approach. In particular, identify community level individuals and groups to develop specific community needs assessments and gauge, (i.e. through polling/surveys), the expected utilization rates.
    Public/Private WIFI – Leverage Existing Infrastructure
    Focus Wi-Fi on areas with existing infrastructure and with a specific use: public-housing, education – or government services. Treating WIFI as a utility for police, fire and other municipal needs. Technology now can create an efficient and functional separation of service. A lower cost of municipal service makes them more efficient, and supports the WIFI initiative.
  • 16. public wi-fi 2.0
    Lessons learned include realistic expectations….
    Foster more realistic expectations, proposing smaller networks that can be expanded later. Wi-Fi may not be free at the out-set. Don’t underestimate the cost of “un-wiring” a network and over-estimate the “revenues” you can generate..
    Local government to act as “anchor tenants" -- or clients -- for the network, ensuring a stream of revenues to the provider from the start. Once EMS are solidly using the WLAN for evidence grade video for instance, and other security applications, expansion can take place.
    Find ways of being more flexible about how providers can price their service.
    A new approach… a holistic mandate uniting policy, technology, the community and the individual user
    For example: To support specific community initiatives with pockets of free WIFI, utilizing new Mesh technology and existing infrastructure to create a public/private hot-spots. Use pro-active Managed Services to provide key security and real-time remote and on-site support to ensure a continuous, high-performance user experience.
  • 17. technology
    Wi-Fi Mesh still appears to be a multi-layer approach between real-world existing technologies.
    Private / public spectrum (2.4 GHz, 5.x GHz and 4.9 GHz) can now co-exist on the same Access Point – but the benchmark in quality and viability will be around providing seamless voice and video quality.
    Technology is still competing for primacy…
    Wi-fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n – largest group of client. Lap-tops and smart-phones drive the continue growth of Wi-fi hot-spots
    WiMax – 802.16e – now growing due to WiMax/ Wi-Fi chipset being offered by Intel in high end lap-tops. No longer a “back-haul” technology, major US players are adopting WiMax/Wi-Fi
    Strategies with a few cities offering USB dongles. Landscape may change radically if the iPhone moves to “WiMax”.
    Femto Cells – cellular technology in an “access point”, the concept is still under-development. Femto will make strong in-roads in Asia and Europe by 2012; but its perception as a disruptive play may stall in adoption in North America.
    Cellular as primary and Wi-Fi as the secondary layer, with emerging WiMax is the main approach to creating a Mesh environment. Data speeds at 20MB with 300MB back-haul to wired can be expected.
  • 18. technology
    Technology issues still exist…with a matrix of players combining different
    radios, antennas and software to improve the mesh experience…
    Hidden Node – interfering clients causing disruptions
    Performance degradation through hops – packet degradation with each hop or node must be anticipated and solution-engineered
    Maximum number of clients – Performance availability for a large # of clients in a given area, increases infrastructure costs
    Spectral Interference – on-going issues with other radio frequency interference
    WLAN Technology Leaders and Mesh offerings:
    BelAir - WiMAX 802.16e base station, a Wi-Fi access point, and a DOCSISÒ cable modem
    Nortel - IEEE 801.11b/g WLAN standards operating in the 2.4 GHz band. The transit link (TL) radio sub-system is based on the IEEE 802.11a standard operating in the bands at 5.740 - 5.840 and 5.4 GHz in release 2.0.
    Cisco - 2.4 GHz frequency and the 5 GHz band to backhaul traffic
    Meraki – 802.11 b/g outdoor with solar mesh repeaters
    Aruba - 2.4 GHz frequency and the 5 GHz band to backhaul traffic
    Motorola - 2.4 GHz and 5.x GHz radios that support a 3X3 MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) scheme
    Stritx -802.11 a/b/g/n, 4 radios, WiMax and 4.9 Ghz compatible
  • 19. security
    Security will be a critical issue…with millions of devices scanning
    the wireless air-waves with ever increasing sophistication….
    The best mobile Wi-Fi scanner comes to the iPhone. WiFiFoFum scans for 802.11 wireless networks and displays information about each network it detects, including: SSID, MAC, RSSI (signal strength), channel, AP mode, security mode and transmission rates. The radar display provides a graphical representation of nearby WiFi access points.Version 1.21 includes ability to save passwords, option to view strength icon, and includes bug fixes.
    …for secure networks we have WPA2, which has not been fully hacked…
    IEEE 802.11i (also known as WPA2) itself was ratified in June 2004, and uses government strength encryption in the Advanced Encryption Standard AES, instead of RC4, which was used in WEP.
  • 20. Use network intrusion detection systems, host-based intrusion detection systems, and/or intrusion prevention systems to monitor all network traffic and alert personnel to suspected compromises. Keep all intrusion detection and prevention engines up to date.
    PCI Standard
    Section 11.4
    A private/public Mesh network can use sensor networks
    to provide a very high degree of security…
    200+ Threats Detected
    • Reconnaissance & Probing
    • 21. Various DoS Attacks
    • 22. Identity Theft, Malicious Association
    • 23. Dictionary Attacks
    • 24. Security Policy Violations
    • 25. Clear-text Leakage
    Minimal False Positives
    • Correlation across multiple detection engines reduces false positives
    • 26. Most accurate attack detection
    Day Zero Attacks
    • Anomalous behavior engines ensure protection against all Day Zero / unknown attacks
    click generation the long tail on-line social media web 2.0 visualization mobility transformation shiftBell Wireless
  • 27. applications
    Many possible applications for municipal wireless….
    Meter reading
    Video applications
    (Perimeter security, event monitoring,
    Voice over IP
    Asset Tracking
    (Wi-Fi based rugged tags,
    Geo-fenced assets in Wi-Fi foot-print)
    Field workers / health care workers
    Police and Fire EMS
    Disaster Recovery
    Pandemic Planning
    Video Surveillance
    Sensor networks for utilities
    (power outage detection)
    Fixed Mobile Convergence
    (dual-mode devices can
    now detach from cellular and retain PBX call)
  • 28. infrastructure
    Technology ideally positioned to provide a full gamut of public Wi-Fi solutions
    “one size does not fit all” – municipalities must consider user-group and environment centric solutions…
    Wireless Controllers – expanding value-add:
    Location-based asset management, as well as location-based context-oriented applications
    Role provisioning guest access administration for wired and wireless guest identity management
    Policy and resource management
    Intelligent roaming for mobile unified communications (UC) installations (multicast)
    802.11 N adoption (greater bandwidth)
    MESH capabilities (outdoor strategy)
  • 29.  
    best practices
    Its important to...
    Eliminate FAT legacy APs – not suitable for multi-media applications, poor roaming capability
    Perform LAN / WAN readiness assessment to meet IP requirements (latency, video server, PBX compliance)
    Ensure separate VLANs and network segments for wireless traffic, esp. for VoIP
    Always perform a full site survey and spectral analysis to optimize AP placement and detect interference
    Look for a tuned antenna strategy (low gain vs. high gain ,directional vs. omni)
    Understand your bandwidth requirements – user profiles, application requirements, usage patterns. Bring application vendors to the table and set-up pre-production environment
    What can your controller really manage? – automated power and channel control, APs strategies in dense use areas, set parameters for managing heterogeneous clients
    Understand legacy WLAN management application – is it scalable? Can it provide global control?
    Review corporate security policy – VPN termination, 802.1x etc
    Include hardware and support maintenance plan a must from the “start”.
    Scope out a test proof of concept in pre-production with mixed high-bandwidth apps: voice + data +video
  • 30. tech drivers
    Mobility, the Cloud and Geo-Location…
    One Year or Less – Mobility
    A single portable device to perform all functions in WIFI or cellular footprint. Running 3rd party applications (like App Store) that can be used for education and social interaction and roam seamlessly – in other words true Fixed Mobile Convergence.
    One Year or Less – Cloud Computing
    The emergence of data farms has created a surplus of computing capability. Development platforms once expensive will now be very low cost enabling thin mobile clients to process any on the web. The cloud will fundamentally change the idea of infrastructure and distributed processing.
    Two to Three Years – Geo-Location Technology
    Plotting and visualization technologies will become the de facto tag of the future for all web-based data and media. This will greatly increase storage, computing and application sophistication. Caching of media and annotations attached to any web-based application will become an ever-increasing requirement – as information on the internet becomes ultra-cross referenced and semantic in nature.
    Source: The Horizon Report – 2009 Educause Learning Initiative
  • 31. stats
    Business use of Wi-Fi hotspots grows by 46%, 3G use increases by 59%
    iPass released the latest edition of its Mobile Broadband Index which shows that business use of Wi-Fi hotspots (in the iPass network) grew by 46% between the first half of 2007 and the first half of 2008. 3G data use in the US increased by 59% between Q2 2007 and Q2 2008. Please note that the statistics come from the iPass hotspot network; until recently, the iPass service was open only to enterprises (as opposed to Boingo’s, which is open to everyone), so the numbers reflect business use of Wi-Fi.
    Other interesting findings:
    (1) For the first time, in the first half of 2008 European business use of Wi-Fi exceeded that of the US; it
    now accounts for 47% of global use of Wi-Fi, up from 36% in 2007; 70% of the growth in worldwide Wi-Fi
    use came from Europe. There are more Wi-Fi hotspots in Europe (50,000 locations) than in the US (25,000);
    usage pattern in Europe is different: European business people use Wi-Fi to avoid data and voice roaming
    charges; countries showing top Wi-Fi use: UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Netherlands.
    (2) Airports account for 40% of Wi-Fi use, followed by hotels (34%) and cafes/retail locations (26%).
    in airports, average length of a session is 40 minutes, hotels 167 minutes, cafes 68 minutes;
    average of the above three is 90 minutes. Top five airports in Wi-Fi use: Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta,
    Heathrow, Dallas, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Frankfurt, Schiphol (Amsterdam) and Charles de Gaulle
  • 32. stats
    Business use of Wi-Fi hotspots grows by 46%, 3G use increases by 59% - cont’d
    (4) 3G broadband use in the US has also grown dramatically, up 59% from last year (the average number of megabytes consumed per use is 211 megabytes per month). A small number of users consumes 1 gigabyte or more per month (possibly because they use it in lieu of a DSL or cable connection) but their number more than doubled from 2007 to 2008. If more people use data hungry applications on 3G networks, the operators will need to increase capacity dramatically. The number of sessions on a 3G network increased from 74% (Q2 2007) to 86% (Q2 2008);
    number of sessions on a 2.5G network decreased from 26% to 14% in the same period.
    The statistics show that more people have 3G phones and the 2.5G networks are slowly being upgraded in the US.
    (5) Use of Wi-Fi in train stations and other public transport locations grew 110% between 2007 and 2008 with London city train stations showing the largest number of sessions followed by Japan Rail’s network. The Seattle Washington Ferry system came in third, followed by Heathrow Express trains.
    (6) Most dramatic growth in usage occurred in public hotspots such as business parks and city centers. Use in these locations grew by over 500%, with average session length of almost 3 hours. Cafes were still the largest in the retail category but growth slowed to 18% (saturation, perhaps).
  • 33. stats
    Muni Wi-Fi 2.0: smaller targeted networks, flexible business models
    Many people were surprised to learn that in the third quarter of 2008, the iPhone was the best selling phone in the US, beating out the Motorola RAZR and the Blackberry. iPhone owners have been sending and receiving massive amounts of data via AT&T’s 3G and Edge networks. Some claim that the massive data use has contributed to outages in AT&T’s cellular networks and that AT&T’s recent moves — giving away free Wi-Fi at Starbucks to iPhone users and its acquisition of Wayport (an operator of Wi-Fi networks in McDonalds and various hotel chains — shows that the company wants more people to use Wi-Fi more often in lieu of the 3G network.
    Business models are also evolving and becoming more flexible. For some providers of Wi-Fi, it’s an amenity. Public transport operators in Europe entice people away from cars, airplanes and their competitors by giving away Wi-Fi service. Lower end hotel chains have already been doing this for years. In some cities, Wi-Fi is not so much a business, as a service to low income families. For other firms such as iPass and Boingo, who charge their customers a monthly fee in exchange for access to networks around the world, the selling point is convenience and ubiquity. iPass goes one step further: they target enterprise users who are concerned about security on the networks.