Wayport has been something of a pioneer for road warriors, offering telephone-enabled cubicles - known as Laptop Lanes - at major airports across the U.S.

Initially with hard-wired, and now with Wi-Fi hotspot services, these cubicles are aimed at laptop users who, in return for a small fee, can get access to the internet and telephony services.

Unlike Boingo, with which it has a limited roaming arrangement, Wayport's strategy has been to sign roaming deals with telcos across the U.S. Roaming partners include AT&T Wireless, SBC, Verizon, Sprint and iPass.

Currently the service has close to 600 hotels and 12 airports nationally, along with 75 McDonalds restaurants in the San Francisco area. At hotel locations, Wayport charges $9.95 per 24 hours, whilst airports locations cost $6.95 from the time of signup/enabling until midnight at that location. Regular users can sign up for a prepaid card costing $25 for three hotel sessions, $50 for eight hotel or airport sessions, and $100 for 20 hotel or airport sessions. There's also a subscription available at $29.95 a month for 12 months.

Wayport supports email users whose ISP blocks relayed outbound email for security reasons, allowing use of its own email servers to send authenticate email. Unlike Boingo, the company does not go out of its way to make life cushy for users. There is no client software as such, with users being required to enter the Wayport SSID manually.

There's also no support for WEP, or even a firewall on the service. What you get is a vanilla Wi-Fi service, although the good news is that, unlike some wireless ISPs, no proxies are used. This allows you full access to the internet.

We were not impressed with the lack of WEP on all Wi-Fi sessions, since this makes sniffing and eavesdropping of other users' sessions at a given hotspot far too easy. Having said that, the set up is very easy indeed, despite the lack of client software and, even without a login/membership.

Overall, we were happy with Wayport. While not recommended for novices, the basic service is all you need - provided you have personal firewall, anti-virus and/or other security on your laptop.

Product title
Product info
Name: Wayport (Telecoms Security group test) Description: Price: from $6.95 per session
No-frills Wi-Fi service with discounts for regular users. Excellent support on toll-free numbers.
Definitely not for novices. No WEP, firewall or similar security. No client software.
Difficult to give an unqualified thumbs-up on this otherwise excellent service due to lack of security. Forthose who know what they are doing security-wise, the service offers very good value.

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