IBM puts Wi-Fi in Boys and Girls Clubs

IBM is installing wireless Lans in more than 600 Boys and Girls Clubs of America facilities, one of its largest deployments of...

IBM is installing wireless Lans in more than 600 Boys and Girls Clubs of America facilities, one of its largest deployments of the 802.11b wireless networking technology so far.

Instead of stringing wires in the clubhouses, many of which only had one computer for internet access, or none at all, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America decided to go wireless, said Pal Normark, client manager at IBM.

"To hardwire a lot of these facilities would be a tremendous cost, so the wireless capability fit their need nicely," he said.

IBM is using Linksys kit at the clubs. Linksys was recently acquired by networking giant Cisco. The wireless networks have a high-speed internet connection.

The clubs are using desktop computers on the wireless network instead of laptops. The IBM contract also includes the delivery of 6,400 IBM desktop PCs with wireless cards.

The PCs come with a custom software image installed, and are configured for the wireless network and for Hewlett-Packard printers. Part of the software bundle is an easy restore feature that can restore a PC to its last saved state in about 20 minutes.

Boys and Girls Clubs of America has about 3,300 facilities across the US and receives many gifts from large technology companies. However, the deal with IBM was not a donation, IBM said.

 Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service

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