No Strings Attached: Airports Go Wireless
Published: May 2009
By Adam Baer
Want to stay connected, even overseas?Now you can stop hunting for elusive airport Web access: 19 terminals from Munich to Istanbul have installed wireless local area networks (LAN's) in their passenger lounges, with more to come. Within these designated "hot spots," you can connect a laptop or PDA to the Internet at a high speed, as long as you have a wireless network card, available from any computer retailer or wireless service provider. The network, called Aironet, was developed by Cisco Systems and works on the Wi-Fi frequency (also known as IEEE 802.11b); you pay a fee to a service provider or to the airport itself to log on. A similar technology, called BT Openzone, has been available at the Hilton at London's Heathrow airport since June. In the United States, T-Mobile (formerly VoiceStream) has set up wireless hot spots at 12 airports, including Dallas-Fort Worth and Baltimore/Washington, as well as in American Airlines lounges across the country. E-conscious travelers will be flying even higher next January, when Lufthansa, in collaboration with Cisco and Boeing, plans to roll out high-speed wireless networks aboard international flights. For hot-spot locations, contact Cisco Systems (www.cisco.com/pcgi-bin/cimo/home), BT Group (www.bt.com/openzone), or T-Mobile (www.t-mobile.com).