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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Wireless Internet at coffee shops adds to customer convenience

Since its establishment slightly over a year ago, Caf?? Connection, a high-speed wireless Internet service available in five State Street-area coffee shops, has satisfied a number of technology, co-owners Samia Shalabi and Steven Vannoy approached local coffee shops and began providing service last February.  

 

 

 

\We just found that there was an interest,"" Shalabi said. ""Plus, wireless Internet is a new up-and-coming thing, so we're thinking ahead."" 

 

 

 

Caf?? Connection, available at $11 per month, requires a portable computer with a PCMCIA slot and a wireless Ethernet card, which can range in price anywhere from $80-$200. 

 

 

 

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According to Shalabi, Caf?? Connection functions similar to a cordless telephone. After a high-speed line, provided by DSL, is installed in a coffee shop, an access point box is hooked up to the DSL modem. Customers insert a wireless Ethernet card into their laptops, which then reads the access point at 768k. 

 

 

 

Sam Chehade, owner of Michelangelo's, 114 State St., said he chose to have Caf?? Connection installed because of its convenience to his customers and has observed many people using the service. 

 

 

 

""We have a lot of people that own their own laptops and they like the mobility,"" Chehade said. ""It's been over a year and [the service has] been very successful. People really love it.""  

 

 

 

Lydia Bertrand, co-owner of Caf?? Assisi, 254 W. Gilman St., also said that the service works well and that her business has a solid base of customers who use it. 

 

 

 

""It's really hard to say [how many people use the service], because there are a lot of people who come here and have laptops, and I serve them coffee [but] I don't know if they are surfing the Internet or writing a paper,"" Bertrand said.  

 

 

 

Bertrand added that a variety of customers use the service, ranging from students to middle-aged workers. 

 

 

 

Beginning in May, Espresso Royale Caffe, 208 State St., will possibly be offering a trial rental service to customers who don't subscribe to the service or own Ethernet cards, according to manager Jamie Leonard. The high-speed wireless connection along with the Ethernet card would be available to rent by the hour.  

 

 

 

""[The service] is just one more added thing people would want in a caf??, especially in the evening,"" Leonard said. ""When people spend time studying on their laptops, some of them want Internet access, so it's a nice service."" 

 

 

 

Caf?? Connection is also available at Espresso Royale, 650 State St., and Ancora Coffee Roasters, 112 King St. 

 

 

 

To sign up for the Caf?? Connection wireless Internet service, call 347-1975 or check out the Web site .

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