Low-Tech Wireless Featured At High-Tech Conference

access point broadband

And Always On Wireless said it plans next month to introduce a Wi-Fi access point designed to operate with dial-up connections or on conventional high-speed Internet connectivity.

The DropZone access point is designed as an alternative to current outdoor Wi-Fi networks, which connect to central servers. The DropZone server runs applications locally. It supports all current radio frequency standards, including 802.11a, b, g and WiMax, and has a blade architecture to add further support for future standards.

Potential applications include outdoor music sharing, local information, or emergency management services, or hosting sensors to measure for potential hazards or pollutants.

The Always On device is handheld-sized, with a small power cord (rather than the usual brick for electronic devices).

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"Some may say, 'why dial-up?'" said Always On CEO Rudy Prince. But he noted that some 40 million homes in the U.S. still use dial-up rather than broadband Internet access, as well as 7 million vacation homes, and mid-market hotels.

"As you get used to the benefits of wireless connectivity and Wi-Fi, to be tethered to a wall in a place that might not have broadband seems archaic to us," Prince said.

The unit includes a phone jack for telephone service, and two Ethernet jacks, one for broadband DSL or cable modem, the other for a local LAN connecting to a desktop computer or voice-over-IP device. It includes 128-bit WEP encryption and password protection for security, and will in the future support WPA.

The device is designed to be easy to configure, for networking novices, and comes preconfigured with numbers for American Online, MSN and EarthLink, although it can connect to any dial-up Internet service provider. After connecting and disconnecting, users can press a single hardware button to re-connect.

This story courtesy of MobilePipeline.com