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Auckland Airport Goes Wi-Fi

1 August 2005

Auckland Airport Goes Wi-Fi

Today, Auckland Airport will take the first step to become one of the largest wi-fi campuses in the country, when the international terminal’s wireless programme is rolled-out. Initially to be used only for operational tasks, in a few months passengers in international airline lounges will also be offered wi-fi access.

The service will be progressively introduced to public areas of the terminal as new food and beverage facilities are opened in the refurbished international pier.

The airport’s head of information technology and telecommunications, Tony Wickstead, says that wi-fi is an exciting new move in the technology provisions of the airport, “At this stage, we have been working with the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) to provide wireless technology for airport staff in the baggage halls and the apron. Baggage handlers carry devices that will allow them to trace luggage throughout its journey on the airport.

“The next step will be to offer other tenants on the airport mobile access to information wherever they are, without the hindrance of wires.”

The airport has joined with Telecom New Zealand to implement the network, which is at this stage limited to the international terminal. Over the next few months, parts of the domestic terminal will be brought online. The long-term aim is to have the entire airport precinct wireless enabled, making it the largest wi-fi campus in New Zealand.

Wi-fi technology has been available for a number of years, but the airport says that due to the nature of the facility and the wide range of applications, it was important to carefully evaluate the options.

“We needed to get it right first time and build a wi-fi infrastructure that is robust and easily expandable, as well as being fully secure.

“Unlike many other facilities, the wireless network at Auckland Airport can be used for everything from aircraft operational requirements, wireless telecommunications, remote access to information airport-wide and also the retail side, with passengers eventually being able to use specific wi-fi ‘hotspots’ to surf the internet and check email”

In the next few months, international airline lounges, including Air New Zealand, Qantas and Emirates will begin to offer passengers wi-fi access and over the next year, hotspots will pop up in cafes and other parts of the terminal. Domestic airline lounges will come online from that time as well.

Wickstead says, “We are currently evaluating the possibility of having wireless flight information screens and electronic signage that can be moved to where it is needed in the terminal.

“Other uses include remote printing, security, cargo handling, check-in equipment, and access to aircraft maintenance manuals. Basically, it is about allowing all companies on the airport to become more mobile and benefit from its associated flexibility.”

ends


Information for journalists:

Wi-fi, or ‘wireless fidelity’ is an international standard in telecommunications using the 802.11 frequency in small high-speed patches, rather than large cellular zones. Many new devices such as laptop computers and personal digital assistants come w-fi enabled. Users are able to access the internet, email and their office networks through secure broadband connections in cafes, bars, service stations and other retail outlets.

About Telecom and wi-fi

Telecom provides businesses and organisations, such as Auckland Airport, with the service, infrastructure and technology to set up wi-fi networks for increased efficiencies and to enable better customer and employee service. Telecom also has the largest wireless hotspot network in New Zealand; with airports, hotels, cafés, libraries, convention centres and petrol stations among the 200-plus venues set up as Telecom wireless hotspots. Telecom is planning to have a total of 450 wireless hotspots rolled by Christmas 2005. The Telecom wireless hotspots allow customers to surf the internet within a wireless environment from their wi-fi enabled laptop or PDA (802.11g or 802.11b). For information on locations and how to access Telecom’s wireless hotspot service, visit www.telecom.co.nz/wirelesshotspots.


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