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Cisco to power Orange Wi-Fi upgrade

The European cell phone operator plans to use Cisco's wireless gear to boost the number of its Wi-Fi hot spots in France.

European mobile phone provider Orange is using gear from Cisco Systems to add another 1,500 Wi-Fi hot spots to its network in France by the end of 2004, Cisco said Wednesday. Orange currently has 3,000 hot spots in France, and it expects to bump that number to 4,500 by year's end.

Cisco's mobile wireless technology will allow users to log on to Orange Wi-Fi networks directly without any changes to the setup of their computers. Using this technology, customers can access the network using any 2.5G, 3G or Wi-Fi device. At the same time, Orange will still be able to track the connection and bill for it appropriately. Orange will use Cisco's Service Selection Gateway, Subscriber Edge Services Manager, Content Services Gateway platforms and Catalyst 6500 switches. It will also use Cisco's 1700 modular access routers to connect Cisco Aironet wireless access points to the digital subscriber line network.