Airport Goes Wireless - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/21/04

Airport Goes Wireless

It wasn't your typical ribbon-cutting ceremony today at Savannah-Hilton Head International. In fact, instead of the symbolic ribbon, officials cut a computer networking wire, signifying that traveling computer users are now free to move about the building.

"We have comment cards all around the building," said Patrick Graham, executive director of the airport commission. "Over the years we kept getting comment cards, you know, 'Have you looked into wireless?'...'I would sure like to sit out in your beautiful square and work on my computer, why don't you get wireless?'"

Now, anywhere in the airport, you can check your email or browse the web, without the wires. It uses the same 802.11-standard wireless hardware many now use for their home and business networks.

Officials are hoping the demand matches their access fee of $6.95 per day. "The big thing here is that it's just another service for the passengers," said Graham. "You know, people are getting to be, to expect wireless everywhere they go."

Officials say the network covers the entire airport and will allow tenants to tap into the same service here they get at larger airports. "If you're in Pittsburgh or Boston or New York, and you can get wireless, we want to make sure you can get that same service here in Savannah," said Graham. "We don't want any airport to have a service we can't provide at the same level."

That's good news for businesses, as well as those who just want to check their email.

The company that installed the system, Airport Network Solutions, advises users of all public wireless networks to install a personal firewall to protect their PCs.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com

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