February 14, 2003, 10:29 AM — Bandwidth supplier Interoute is rolling out one of Europe's first high-speed wireless Internet services based on the 802.11g standard.
Privately-held Interoute of London has launched in London its first commercial wireless LAN (WLAN) service based on the 802.11g technology, which enables speeds up to 54M bps (bits per second), and plans to roll out a second network in Milan, Italy, this month, Nick McMenemy, vice president of marketing said Thursday.
The service, which will target carriers, mobile operators and corporations, will be available in several major European centers over the next year, McMenemy said. It will provide backward compatibility to the slower but widely deployed 802.11b WLAN technology, which, like 802.11g, operates in the 2.4GHz band.
With an eye to the enterprise market, Interoute has agreed to cooperate with European WLAN service provider Megabeam Networks Ltd. in London to provide seamless roaming to corporate users, McMenemy said, adding that the company plans to forge similar partnerships with other firms providing pan-European roaming service.
"The big advantage of 802.11g is that the technology has sufficient capacity to support more than 100 concurrent users," said Phil Whelan, director of wireless services at Interoute. "Of course, if you're going to provide that type of wireless access, you'll need to have sufficient bandwidth in the fixed backbone network, and that's where we hope to leverage our metropolitan fiber optic infrastructure."
Many of the current 802.11b networks, which, according to Whelan, can support only up to 11 users simultaneously, will get congested because too many users will be sharing limited bandwidth. "We're not anticipating that 'g' networks will sprout up in the same way 'b' networks have, but we do expect to see them in the big business centers," he said.
Interoute, which emerged from a period of financial reorganization in December, now hopes to generate traffic over its broadband network, one of Europe's largest, by rolling out WLAN access services, according to McMenemy. "We have a huge network in Europe and we want to make better use of it," he said.
Interoute declined to provide price points for the new WLAN service. WLAN cards based on the 802.11g standard are already available, Whelan said.