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WLAN Net surfing to proliferate by 2007

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CIOL Bureau
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CHICAGO: Most Americans today surf the Internet on computers connected to a

cable or a telephone line, but many of them will access the Internet wirelessly

in airports, shopping malls and hotels by 2007, a study released on Thursday

said.

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The report by global telecommunications and new media research firm, Analysys,

which is based in Britain, estimates that more than 21 million Americans will

use public wireless local area networks, or LANs, by 2007.

This compares with about 600,000 wireless LAN users in 2002. The rising

adoption of wireless LAN will be due in part to the growing number of devices

such as personal digital assistants and laptops that will be equipped with the

capability, according to the study.

Consumers can take advantage of high-speed wireless local area networks as

long as they are in a wireless-enabled location and have a card in their devices

to let them receive the wireless signals. The study's co-author, Monica Paolini,

said she expects "hot spots" -- where users can surf the Internet via

a wireless local area network -- to grow to 41,000 by 2007 from 3,700 this year.

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The study predicted that the public wireless local area network market will

claim a 25 per cent share of anticipated mobile data revenue by 2007. About 8

per cent of all mobile users will use the networks.

It also said traditional wireless operators could lose more than 7 per cent

of total data revenue to public wireless local area network services in 2007 if

they ignore the business. At the same time, however, the study said wireless

local area network operators must still resolve some issues, most notably the

ability to provide wide coverage for potential users.

Analysys suggested that operators should pursue roaming agreements with each

other to minimize the cost of deploying access points in every hot spot. It also

said operators need to offer better location information, network detection

software, appropriate security and reasonable pricing before the market will

increase significantly.

(C) Reuters Limited.

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