As the speed and range of wireless devices increases, networks that previously stretched from the study to the lounge room now cover entire cities.

For Jayson Atkins, the wireless revolution began with a simple cordless keyboard for the computer that sat on the counter of his Essendon pharmacy.



Atkins doesn’t consider himself a technology buff, but it didn’t take much convincing for him to install a wireless, or wifi, computer network in the store so staff could count stock on the shelves using an iPaq hand-held computer.



From there, the lure of a wireless wonderland was too strong to ignore. Next it was a wireless phone kit for his car, and then a wireless keyboard at home. At the pharmacy, Atkins now often runs the business from his wireless notebook computer and is looking to extend his wifi network so he can work in the coffee shop several doors away.



“Once you get used to the freedom of wireless devices, it’s harder to tolerate the tangle of cables anywhere else – at work or at home,” Atkins says.



“I’m not the kind of person who uses new technologies just for the sake of it, but the convenience of wireless has convinced me it’s the way to go.”



Thanks to wireless technologies, the jungle of cables snaking its way around our lounge rooms and across our desks can be tamed.



As the speed and range of wireless devices increases, networks that previously stretched from the study to the lounge room now cover entire cities. Finally relief is at hand for victims of Australia’s farcical broadband roll-out, which saw high-speed internet access available in one street and not the next.



The convenience of wifi has Atkins considering it at home as well. He also intends to link the iPaq to his phone using Bluetooth – a short-range wireless technology originally used to cut the cord between mobile phones and headsets – but is excited about the prospect of city-wide, high-speed wifi networks.



“That would be great for checking things back at the shop, or if I wanted to book a holiday online or something, I could just sit the notebook on the coffee table wherever I was,” he says.



“If I could do all that from a hand-held device, I could go away for the weekend with my office in my pocket rather than in my bag.”



The freedom wireless technologies provides began with television remote controls and cordless telephones and has spread to every corner of our lives, with wireless links allowing you to meld with your surroundings – linking the world to devices on, or even in, your body.



Bluetooth has a range of only 10 metres but Sydney’s Broadway Shopping Centre last year deployed the southern hemisphere’s largest public Bluetooth network to beam advertising directly to shoppers as they passed by stores. People can also access movie times and charge tickets to their mobile-phone bills, receive step-by-step store directions and locate and message friends within the shopping complex.



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