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Hotspot Usage Remains White Hot

Does your hotel, (office, site, restaurant, airport) offer Wi-Fi connectivity? That is one of the first questions a business traveler asks when booking a trip. Increasingly, the answer to that query is yes.
Does your hotel, (office, site, restaurant, airport) offer Wi-Fi connectivity? That is one of the first questions a business traveler asks when booking a trip. Increasingly, the answer to that query is yes.Market research firm ABI Research found that the number of Wi-Fi hotspots continues to grow at an astounding rate: they are expected to rise by 40% by the end of 2008. Consequently, it is becoming easier for small and medium business executives to find a place to stay in touch with the home office when they travel.

In addition, the services are becoming less expensive. Rather than charge users, say $10 a day, for access, a growing number of suppliers offer free Wi-Fi services. They seem to understand that not allowing individuals to transmit information as they sip a latte or after they have listened to a presentation means they are less likely to do business with your establishment. In addition, hotspot suppliers are finding it more difficult to establish equitable charges for these services. With the emergence of Wi-Fi/3G connectivity services, they cannot determine whom to charge for what. Consequently, the free service model continues to gain ground.

However, security is one of the potential downsides with business usage of Wi-Fi services. The hotspots links typically have minimal security, so the transmissions can be susceptible to outside interference. One way to avoid the problem is by making sure that employees have a secure VPN tunnels from their systems to the corporate office. Employees want to use hotspots, so it is important that these sites enhance rather than detract from your companys operations.

How many traveling executives are in your company? Does your company have a hotspot usage policy? Do you require that such users use a company VPN when accessing the office remotely?

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing