Feeds

T-Mobile equips US uni with guest Wi-Fi access

Virtual network bypasses host's secure private WLAN

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

T-Mobile has equipped Washington, DC-based American University with a cross-campus Wi-Fi network for visitors to the institution.

The US WISP today said that hotspots have been activated in some ten locations around AU's campus.

Of course, the hotspots are of little use to students and staff since AU already operates an extensive private WLAN across at least 42 buildings on University premises.

Instead, the T-Mobile network is pitched at visitors. The T-Mobile system uses the same infrastructure as the AU WLAN - the ten locations have been set up to broadcast multiple SSIDs, a University spokesman told The Register. Users logging on to the T-Mobile virtual SSID are then routed across the AU WLAN to a separate, T-Mobile owned broadband Internet link.

Guest access is provided free of charge. AU gives legitimate visitors a username and password which T-Mobile's billing system recognises as a University-sponsored user. Anyone else who finds themselves on campus with a Wi-Fi enabled notebook can also use the T-Mobile hotspots but only if they cough up the appropriate access fee.

AU said that the deal with T-Mobile Hotspot arose out of its existing partnership with the mobile telco to promote mobile phone usage among the student body by offering discounted airtime and handsets. It has a similar deal with Cingular, but the WLAN arrangement in an exclusive one.

As part of the deal with T-Mobile, students and staff get a 25 per cent discount off T-Mobile's joint WLAN-mobile phone subscription tariff when they use off-campus hotspots affiliated to the WISP.

The University said it has no plans to expand the number of T-Mobile hotspots beyond ten, but its network capacity is sufficient to do so should the level of demand warrant adding the virtual SSIDs to other access points. The ten sites selected are those buildings visitors are most likely to enter, the spokesman said.

The T-Mobile/American University roll-out is the first of what a number of players in the Wi-Fi business hope will be many such installations - public hotspots on private sites. Usually pitched at corporates, the strategy centres on allowing organisations to offer Internet access via a WLAN to visitors without the need to open up their main networks.

"Enterprise IT managers tell us they want public Wi-Fi at their facilities for visitors," said Joe Sims, T-Mobile HotSpot US' VP and general manager. "But instead of opening the enterprise WLAN, they want a separately operated Wi-Fi network."

In the UK, local WISP The Cloud is pursuing a similar strategy as it seeks to build a customer base that extends beyond individual notebook and PDA users. Other WISPs have been talking up the concept rather a lot of late, too. And Broadreach Networks has already launched a 'white box' WLAN Internet access package pitched at corporates and other service providers who want to use virtual SSID technology. ®

Related stories

T-Mobile spearheads university WLAN project
T-Mobile to offer seamless 3G, Wi-Fi data service
Broadreach to bring major mobile telcos to Wi-Fi market
The Cloud enables SIM-based hotspot access
Wi-Fi biz gears up for roaming offensive

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.