ATHENS,BelAir Networks, a provider of wireless network technology, has joined the University of Georgia’s Mobile Media Consortium and will provide new WiFi service for the university’s wireless research zone.

BelAir ‘s wide-area WiFi technology will be used to cover the 24-block area of downtown Athens designed as the Wireless Athens Georgia Zone, or WAGZone. It will provide seven BelAir200 units to handle the network. The WAGZone was launched in 2001 to explore real-world uses of wireless technology.

The consortium is part of the New Media Institute at the University of Georgia. Other members include Hewlett-Packard, McDonald’s, Intel, AppForge, iAnywhere, Air2Web, and ExecuTrain.

“At the Mobile Media Consortium, we are dedicated to finding new ways that wireless can be more effectively used within a metro scenario,” said Scott Shamp, director of the University of Georgia’s New Media Institute. “Through its membership in the consortium, BelAir is joining our exploration of how this powerful technology can improve lives.”

The university reviewed other products before picking BelAir. The existing network infrastructure had degraded, and UGA said one of the reasons it picked BelAir is the firm’s use of weatherproof enclosures for its hardware.

BelAir, a privately held firm established in 2001, is based in Ontario, Canada.

Mobile Media Consortium:

BelAir Networks: