Analysts predict wireless hot-spot crash

Most of the money that is being spent creating public wireless "hot spots" is being wasted, according to research published on Thursday.

Analyst group Forrester believes that, in the future, there won't be enough people using Wi-Fi devices to support the operators that are currently introducing wireless local area networks (WLANs) and hot spots, which are places where wireless Web access is available to the public for a fee or for free.

"With all the hype today about the rollout of WLAN public hot spots, it's as if the dot-com boom and bust never happened," said Lars Godell, a Forrester senior analyst.

"We believe that much of the money being poured into public WLAN today to enable access--from places as diverse as bars, marinas, hotels and airports, as well as train, bus and metro stations--is being wasted," he said.

According to Forrester, there will be just 53 million Wi-Fi-enabled laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs) in use in Europe by 2008. In addition, only 7.7 million people who use them will be prepared to pay to use Wi-Fi wireless hot spots. Wi-Fi networks create a 300-foot zone where laptops can wirelessly connect to the Web or to a corporate computer network.

News source: c|net

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