Fon simplifies community Wi-Fi access

Software for Nokia phones running the Symbian operating system will be available in the next couple days

Fon Technology hopes to make it easier for users to connect to its network of hotspots with Wi-Fi-enabled phones by offering them software from Spotigo.

Fon has licensed Spotigo's Wi-Fi Smart Client and will distribute it, branded as the Fon Wi-Fi Connection Manager, to all of its users around the world. The first client will work on Nokia phones running the Symbian operating system and should become available in the next couple days, says Diego Cabezudo, vice president of operations for Fon. Users will be able to download the software for free from Fon's website.

Fon is also working on a client that will be compatible with Windows-based phones. That software should become available in the next couple of months.

Currently, Fon users can connect to the hotspots with their Wi-Fi-enabled phones but the process can be challenging. Each time the customer comes in range of a Fon hotspot, the user must input their user name and password to get access. "From the mobile phone, that's kind of tedious," says Cabezudo.

With Spotigo, users will enter those details the first time they attach to a Fon hotspots but the software stores the information and automatically logs the users on the next time they are in range.

Users will also be able to set preferences so their phone will automatically connect to a Fon hotspot when in range or alert the user first before connecting.

Fon is a community of Wi-Fi users who share their individual hotspots with each other. In September, Fon said it had activated 20,000 Fon access points around the world.

While an increasing number of mobile phone models include Wi-Fi, some users find it difficult to connect to the wireless networks. A look at the Wi-Fi mobiles subject discussion in Fon's message board community indicates the trouble that many customers are having with using their mobile phones to connect to Wi-Fi access points. Many of the subjects include requests for help with connecting specific phone models to Fon hotspots. The Spotigo software could make that process easier.

Spotigo is a Dusseldorf, Germany, developer of software that helps users find and connect to hotspots. The company also manages a search service that includes 50,000 European hotspots.

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Tags NokiaWi-FiWindowsFon

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