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Look for a Sign

Downloading on the go? Then get into the zone.

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This story appears in the August 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Have you tried downloading e-mail or files over an 802.11 connection at a hotel or coffee shop yet? The virtual network of Wi-Fi hot spots is just getting started, and both coverage and service can be-well, spotty. Look for the Wi-Fi ZONE logo on storefronts; providers exhibiting that logo agree to meet certain standards of service and security set by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the independent association in Mountain View, California, that certifies 802.11 product interoperability. Locations agree to provide 802.11b connection speeds and easy logon, regardless of your PC card's brand. A customer service number must be posted, and the site must support VPNs for security.

Log on to the Wi-Fi ZONE's online database from one hot spot to find another close to your next stop. If you have a subscription with a service provider like Boingo, two mouse clicks will generate a list of that provider's locations.

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