The mobile phone market in Australia is at saturation point with 19.2 million people now using a mobile – 100 per cent of the available population, according to IDC.

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Netgear’s RangeMax
With all those new notebooks out in user-land though, wireless connectivity becomes all the more important. Data cards could become a thing of the past if the emerging trend to SIM-equip notebooks takes off. Sony has already done this and the Flybook is another example. The growth of 3G networks could make this all the more attractive. 3G offers very usable download speeds, but is a little expensive.

There are other wireless broadband connectivity options, like Personal Broadband Australia and Unwired. As these networks grow and users become accustomed to the idea (and cost) this is a potentially high volume business. Outside the office, WiFi hotspots remain problematic. But, at work there’s any number of potential customers out there.

In the SMB market WiFi is virtually owned by Netgear and D-Link. This is a market that doubled from 2003 to 2004 and it likely has plenty of life left in it. Moving up the scale, Cisco has the corporate market, although the company suffered a very public snub recently when Microsoft chose to ditch the Cisco WLANs and replace them with gear from Aruba Networks.

Netgear’s latest offerings implement MIMO wireless technology, RangeMax (pictured), increases wireless coverage 1000 per cent and minimises interference issues. So apart form the cool blue flashing lights, you get better coverage in a whole range of situations. For business though, the less attractive ProSafe range is now being equipped with Power over Ethernet for easy installation.

Outside the office, wireless broadband offerings are steadily increasing their footprint and, depending on the places your clients like to roam, Unwired or iBurst offer notebook data cards that deliver speeds starting at 256/64Kbps.
The iBurst from Personal Broadband Australia has the advantage of offering a notebook PCMCIA data card alternative, though the Unwired modem is quite small it’s going to need mains power.

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