Wayport to set up Wi-Fi Internet for McDonalds

Just recently McDonald began offering a revised menu to keep up with the current low carb diet craze in the United States. Now the world's largest food retailer is offering Wi-Fi access along with their burgers.

After several pilot projects in Seattle; San Jose, Calif.; San Francisco; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Boise, Idaho. McDonald's selected Wayport to roll out Wi-Fi access in thousands of McDonald's fast food restaurants around the country.

However, what McDonald's may not have counted on is real concern from IT about security.

John Yunker, an industry analyst at Pyramid Research, said that although hot spots are not ubiquitous yet, there are already enough of them around the country to make IT managers nervous.

"For the IT manager, for more and more people to be logging into from more locations is a little scary from a security standpoint," said Yunker.

Another industry analyst backs that up with recent survey results. "Our latest surveys show that security is a factor in determining whether a company allows its employees to access the network through Wi-Fi hot spots," said Amy Cravens, senior analyst at In-stat/MDR, report infoworld.com

According to informationweek.com McDonalds said in a statement that "hundreds" of hot spots put into service by other vendors would be transitioned to Wayport in coming months. In addition, McDonalds said that it would announce additional deployments in the near future. It didn't get specific about issues such as the total number of restaurants that eventually would have hot-spot access. But a McDonald's spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the company hopes to outfit 6,000 restaurants--nearly half its U.S. locations--by year's end.

McDonalds also said it will be announcing roaming agreements in the near future that would enable customers of other hot-spot vendors to use the McDonalds hot spots. The company previously announced that it will make free content from vendors such as USA Today and The New York Times available to its customers.

Participating restaurants will display a stylized logo that looks like a cross between the well-known McDonalds golden arches logo and the ampersand. Walk-up customers can pay $2.95 for a two-hour session with additional options available from Wayport that include $29.95 a month for unlimited access. It also may continue some of its pilot promotions, such as free connections for buying an Extra Value Meal.

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