Computer technology is in a constant state of flux - and with it, the various methods of connecting to the internet. Carrying a laptop computer with you while you travel is probably a way of life if you take frequent business trips. You know all about DSL, dial-up, wireless, and cable connections - but the hotel reservations desk has just informed you that their hotel offers iBridge internet. ‘Huh? iBridge?’ you say! Will it work with your current laptop computer?
iBridge in a Nutshell
iBridge technology uses existing electrical wiring to connect to the net. Telkonet, a company based in Germantown, Maryland, has devised a system that allows you to establish an internet connection by plugging a special adapter into any available electrical outlet. The adapter has an input for Cat 5 cable - today's standard for Ethernet connectivity. Within seconds, you can be using your laptop to surf the net. iBridge transforms electrical lines into a ‘bridge’ between your computer and the net, with strong built-in security and reliability.
Where can iBridge be Utilized?
A few hotel chains have elected to use iBridge. You will find the technology installed in Sheratons, Sandman Hotels, Ramadas, Holiday Inns, Hiltons, Choice Hotels International, Best Westerns, and America's Best Value Inns. It is quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive to install. Older buildings do not require expensive cabling renovations. Reservations clerks might not be cognizant of the technology, but they will tell you that guests use it and love it.
A few communities have installed iBridge. The monthly user fee is usually lower than established conventional systems such as dial-up or broadband. Condominiums and apartment complexes are ideal arenas for iBridge installations. NASA and the US military use it. The grapevine says that Telkonet's invention is even being employed by the military in overseas areas such as Iraq.
A Short Explanation of the Technology
Internet packets arrive at a Telkonet 10/100 gateway Ethernet port. A specialized multi-channel router then instantaneously scans power lines for spikes and interference, dispatching the data out over clean power lines in PCL format. At the receiving end, data enters an iBridge device that converts everything back to the format recognized by your computer - which is connected to the device via Cat 5 cable.
Looking to the Future
Wouldn't it be convenient if internet access were available at every electrical outlet in the world? You could ‘plug in’ at home, in restaurants, airport terminals, bed and breakfasts, or meeting venues - not worrying for a second about the security problems associated with wireless access.
Another company is developing a global ‘HomePlug’ protocol that will allow worldwide networking of computers and appliances. Someday you should be able to program your stereo equipment, kitchen gadgets, televisions, and home surveillance systems from anywhere. Gene Roddenberry (the creator of ‘Star Trek') may have foreshadowed much of the technology we take for granted today. However, he certainly had no idea that electricity would eventually be used to link the entire world via the World Wide Web.
©Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author's note below (with active links) are included.
Kathy writes for several travel-related websites: 111 Travel Directory , 1000 Tips 4 Trips , and Adult Escapes - as well as many others.