Friday, August 25, 2000
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) hooks us up to the Web. An
Application Service Provider (ASP) rents us software to use when we get there.
And a Wireless ASP (WASP) lets us do it all "untethered" to ubiquitous cables
and power cords.
Nice idea, but does anybody know how to do it? Actually, there are
three main wireless standards fighting for space in this latest technology
HomeRF (www.homerf.org), and IEEE's 802.11
But is anyone actually adopting it? Yes-the Fighting Ducks of the
University of Oregon at Eugene. It's appropriate that a university with an
airborne mascot should lead the charge to wireless networking. (Can you imagine
what kind of technology we'd be using if we took our lead from the Banana Slugs
of UC Santa Cruz? It could give a whole new meaning to "snail mail.")
Once they install a special PCMCIA card in their laptops, the
university's nearly 20,000 students can now send and receive data through radio
frequencies to the network, using the 802.11 standard.
"Using one of these cards, you can surf the web from your laptop
at speeds that are nearly 100 times faster than a modem connection," the
university's web site boasts (http://cc.uoregon.edu/cnews/summer2000/wirelessemu.html).
Students today can't roam far without losing the signal, but the IT department
plans to install more access points, and cover 80% of the campus by the end of