Tuesday, July 24, 2007

[Wireless] Avis Connect - Auto Wi-Fi

Last Saturday in San Jose's International airport, I found Avis (a rental car company) is providing a service called auto Wi-Fi. The device looks like a cable modem with two antennas. It says then you can connect to the Internet everywhere you go. The price is $10.95 per day, which is really cheap compared with other paid Wi-Fi services. I'm a little surprised how it works to provide Wi-Fi service when driving, because Wi-Fi is just a short range system and needs to connect itself to a 'real' Internet access network. Mobile WiMAX can connect to Internet direclty but as I know currently the WiMAX network is still under construction.

When I came back home, I checked the Internet and found the answer: it is a combination of a Wi-Fi router and a high-speed cellular modem. The access to the Interent uses a patent-pending, enhanced-reception technology from Autonet Mobile, which roams among existing 3G cellular networks and can switch seamlessly between neighboring networks and high/low-speed connections as needed without interrupting the session. This idea is pretty smart.

Autonet promises the service will work on 95 percent of U.S. roads in the future. It sounds pretty good. Next time for traveling by car, I will have a shot and check how the service is going.

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