BellSouth Offers Wireless SOHO Networking

By SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff | Posted June 26, 2003

BellSouth digital subscriber line (DSL) subscribers can now tap into three new services — BellSouth FastAccess Wireless HomeNetworking Plus service, Parental Controls Plus and Firewall Monitor.

FastAccess Wireless HomeNetworking Plus service enables subscribers to share DSL Internet access with up to four computers over a wireless network using plug-and-play technology. Customers can choose either a wired configuration that utilizes existing phone lines to network computers, or the newly available wireless solution that provides added flexibility by connecting computers without cables. Creating a wireless network is easier than ever, and since there's no need to rewire a home or small office with the availability of wireless networking, nearly anyone can create one.

The service's wireless gateway combines a DSL modem, home networking router and a professional grade firewall — which helps protect every computer connected to the network — into one device. The wireless gateway offers flexible configuration designs allowing users to connect computers using any combination of Ethernet, USB, existing telephone jacks or wireless.

"By enhancing our home networking offering with wireless capabilities and additional Internet security features, customers receive the benefits of added flexibility, peace of mind and ease of use," said Michael Bowling, vice president of DSL Marketing for BellSouth.

Parental Controls Plus and Firewall Monitor are included as part of BellSouth Wireless HomeNetworking Plus service at no additional charge. While Parental Controls Plus is design to assist users in limiting the amount of time children can spend on the Internet, it also allows small offices to control which applications can be used. For example, a small business can configure the service to disable instant messaging software at specific times or to not even run at all. Firewall Monitor enhances the professional-grade firewall offered by BellSouth that features two levels of security in helping protect customers' computers against malicious attacks and Internet threats. The service provides ongoing and automatic software updates as well as detailed logs and notification when potential threats are detected and eliminates the need to buy and update separate security software for every computer.

Home networking customer support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week over the telephone should users need assistance configuring their home network. This customer service group is also available to assist with adding another computer to a home network or arrange file and printer sharing.

BellSouth FastAccess Wireless HomeNetworking Plus service includes a design tool that helps customers plan their network to ideally fit within their home or small office environment. Desktop computers connect to the network with adapters that provide networking capabilities through existing telephone lines. Laptops use wireless adapter cards to connect to the network via Wi-Fi technology. Adapters are available from BellSouth, as well as general retail outlets.

BellSouth's wireless home networking service is initially being offered for $10 a month in addition to fees for its DSL service, which runs around $30 a month. The wireless gateway costs $100 after mail-in rebate. New BellSouth FastAccess DSL customers who order on-line will receive $50 cash back. The wireless gateway rebate, free activation rebate and $50 cash back offer require a 12-month commitment.

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