On Wi-fi in India:
WLAN revolution in India is at a very nascent stage. Worldwide, hotspots are mushrooming, while in India it is expected to take another 12—18 months to reach that stage.
The way Bharti plans to attack the opportunity:
Bharti Infotel is preparing itself for the WLAN revolution with trials and deployment in-house before rolling out for customers.
WLAN has been deployed in many offices of Bharti Infotel. The Delhi office of Bharti Infotel is one of the offices with deployment of 802.11b. All laptop users of this office have thrown away their LAN cables and have adopted Wi-Fi for their connectivity and are relishing the benefits of wireless.
They can now move about in the office, go to the conference rooms, with their laptops and still be connected to the network and access any information or send and receive e-mails. Moreover, every morning, they do not have to look for the LAN cable to connect their laptop to the network.
|group CTO, Bharti Tele-Ventures
Officials from various Bharti offices across the country are witnessing the benefits:
Visitors from other offices of Bharti are also being benefited immensely. Earlier, during their visit to the Delhi Office, for connecting to network and checking their mails etc, they would have to find a desk which is free, then look for a free LAN port and then only could get connected. Often, lot of time would be wasted to get the IT person to provide a LAN cable.
Whenever there was a big meeting or conference in the office with several people coming from circle offices, then the free LAN ports were never sufficient.
Now, with Wi-Fi deployment, there is connectivity in the air. So, the visitors just need to start their laptops and they are connected, can use their e-mail, download information or even surf, from any where they could find a place to sit, and that too without any limitation on how many visitors needing connectivity. With two access points provided, at least 40 people can connect simultaneously.
Similar benefits are there for visitors from other organizations:
A Wi-Fi hotspot also has been created for visitors from other organizations. They can now connect to the Internet over broadband wireless connection and check their mails or do VPN with their corporate network. Thus, they can utilize their waiting time more effectively. Moreover during discussion, they can download information in real time and provide to Bharti so that decisions are not postponed due to lack of information. This reduces the number of meetings required for want of having to revert with more information, thus helping faster decisions.
Since there is broadband Internet connection, visitors can make VoIP calls also using their webphone accounts of net2phone etc.
The areas that still remain of concern:
Insufficient bandwidth: The 802.11 has bandwidth limitation of 11 Mbps which is often felt insufficient for LAN connectivity. For higher bandwidth, Bharti has deployed Access Points which can be upgraded to support 802.11a whenever the standardizations takes place and government deregulates other frequency bands. Then five times more bandwidth, i.e. 52 Mbps, will be available, reducing the bandwidth bottlenecks.
Insufficient security: For security, WEP has been enabled and other measures to beef up the security are being looked into.