I just had a client in my office talking about a new network, and the challenges of trying to get broadband from the cablecos and telcos right into a store … usually across a vast tract of shopping centre asphalt, away from the streetside cable lines and too far from a phone company substation for DSL.
Broadband wireless is an option, albeit a stinkin’ expensive option when it comes to data charges.
There are a few companies that embed cell network wireless cards into their signage units, but there’s also gear that can sit independently, and in the case of this one, multi-task.
Gizmodo has a blog note about a new D-Link gadget that is a 3G network router, but can also act as a a regular or wifi router. What makes that nice is (assuming the think is reliable, and that seems to be an open question mark with consumer grade router gear), is that it can be a regular four port router, or wireless router, for the network inside the store.
There are probably similar gadgets out there, but this is the first I’ve noticed.
Where this may have application is in stores where satellite is the only other broadband option, or in promotions where a network needs to get up and running in a store … but only for a few weeks.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.