CEBIT: Companies look to take Wi-Fi to the sea, emergency room

Vendors display wares that extend and optimize wireless Internet access on cruise ships and in hospitals

While wireless Internet access has become a virtual commodity in homes and offices, exhibitors at this week's CeBIT show in Germany, are displaying wares focused on extending and optimizing the technology.

Nonius Software, a small Portuguese company, is showcasing a software appliance for serving up the Internet on cruise ships as cheaply as possible.

The pleasure vessels generally have to use expensive satellite connections when deep at sea, but can often access lower-cost terrestrial networks when cruising close to shore. Nonius' appliance serves as a referee between the various networks a ship contracts with, automatically switching to a lower-cost provider when it is available, said CEO Antonio Silva.

For now, Nonius is focusing on cruise ships but the concept could apply to other scenarios, such as a tour bus, he suggested.

Meanwhile, the company is rolling out another product aimed at hospitals; it combines Wi-Fi with location tags to create a specialized communication network for tracking the whereabouts of people and machines.

For example, the system could determine whether an Alzheimer's patient unknowingly entered an unsafe area, or could keep tabs on expensive medical equipment, he said.

The system is ideal because it leverages an existing Wi-Fi installation, according to Silva. It is priced based on the number of operational location tags; a 100-tag implementation might cost US$30,000, he said.

"It's not for Big Brother," Silva said of the technology. "It's so that patients can feel that they can get someone's attention."

However, none of that is possible if the building in question has a weak or spotty Wi-Fi installation.

Psiber, a company based in Germany and the US, is displaying 3-D modeling software during CeBIT that aims to maximize the potential of WLANs (wireless local area networks) in buildings.

While the concept of 3-D WLAN planning software is years old, Psiber is pricing its offering aggressively, with a feature-limited version going for US$300 and the full-fledged product costing US$600.

A Psiber official said the main target customers for the software include likely suspects such as architects, but argued there could be a mass-market opportunity as well, given the limits of the 2.4Ghz band on which many Wi-Fi signals travel. "Because it's a free spectrum, there will be so much collision [between networks]," said Klaus Romanek, the company's co-founder/owner.

Users of the software input the plans for each floor of the target building. In addition, the software can take into account the building's composition: Is it wood, concrete or a combination? Are there double-glazed windows?

Going even further, users can include the topography within the building's open spaces, such as desks and cubicles.

They place "access points" around the building, and the software generates a visual representation of both the reach and potential interference of the signals.

The software generates models, and therefore its accuracy "depends on the quality of the input data you put in," Romanek said. However, he added, "We find a rough model of your building is good enough."

"There's a lot of experience from real-life [WLAN] installers that went into this," he asserted.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?