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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 802.11connection at a hotel or coffee shop yet? The virtual network ofWi-Fi hot spots is just getting started, and both coverage andservice can be-well, spotty. Look for the Wi-Fi ZONE logo onstorefronts; providers exhibiting that logo agree to meet certainstandards of service and security set by the Wi-Fi Alliance, theindependent association in Mountain View, California, thatcertifies 802.11 product interoperability. Locations agree toprovide 802.11b connection speeds and easy logon, regardless ofyour 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 spotto find another close to your next stop. If you have a subscriptionwith a service provider like Boingo, two mouse clicks will generate a listof that provider's locations.

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