Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wi-Fi logo

For a long time now, the West (we mean fully developed countries where mobile phone calls cost a bomb) has had a huge number of Wi-Fi hotspots around the country supplementing their broadband network. The best part is, many of these Wi-Fi networks are provided by service providers - their versions of Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, BSNL and the others. India is not completely new to Wi-Fi hotspots - we still fondly remember the Chennai Central railway station being the first railway station in India to have free, open Wi-Fi access. Lugging your Dad’s Notebook PC (Laptop) all the way to the Railway Station to download some high-volume stuff sounds crazy now, but it was something that recurred in this author’s life a few times. We’re talking of way, way back in 2005. Sure, we used to get stares from everybody around - a Notebook PC was pretty hard to come by those days, but the free, decent-speed broadband access was unthinkably awesome. We’ve got a few thoughts regarding what’s coming up in India these days, so hit up that “Read more” button for the full deal.

From those early beginnings, India has surged forward step-by-step. We’ve seen so many locations have open Wi-Fi networks to encourage people to access high-speed broadband on the go. Of late, Open Public Wi-Fi hotspots are hard to come by - especially in commercial locations. A big reason being our beloved Goverment requiring user details of every person using the Internet, in a bid to combat terrorism. (Case in point: The Forum Mall, Bangalore, took down their free Wi-Fi network more than a year ago) On this scene, our mobile phone service providers have decided to unleash a slew of Wi-Fi hotspots, which should give you broadband access when you’re out and about, either via a Notebook PC, a Tablet, or a Smartphone (or your water bottle, if it has Wi-Fi access!). The catch is - this is not free. Quick persusal of the websits of top mobile phone service providers in India indicates that Aircel, Airtel, BSNL and Tata Indicom have the necessary infrastructure and plans in place. Tata Docomo, Vodafone and Reliance (CDMA/GSM) don’t seem to have any such options to offer - although they provide various other possible alternatives. We gave a glance over Airtel’s plans - most of their hotspots in Bangalore are in Cafe Coffee Day locations, but there’s no word of pricing for pre-paid customers. We’re guessing you just walk over to the desk at the location, pay an amount, and then get login details. The prepaid option gives you 512 Kbps speed, but the postpaid option (for existing Airtel DSL subscribers) gives you upto 2 Mbps. Don’t shrug your shoulders in disinterest just yet - what’s really got us excited, is the prospect of future plans. If mobile phone service providers in India decide to follow their Western counterparts, then they could bring in sweet deals like free access for certain phones (AT&T provides free Wi-Fi hotspot access to iPhones in the US, for example) or cheaper rates for existing subscribers or something else entirely. Only time will tell. For the present, we just wanted to let you all know that there’s one more way in which you can part with your hard-earned cash for the sake of Internet access on the go.

Source: Airtel, Aircel, BSNL Calcutta, Tata Indicom


Timmy N said...

If you'd want a secure connection through a public wi-fi then the definitely need an SSL connection or Firewall.

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