iPass has launched an add-on service that it cliams will simplify roaming across public wireless hotspots, home Wi-Fi networks and corporate office WLANs.
The service, dubbed the iPass Wireless LAN Roaming (offered as an extension to the iPass Corporate Access Service), integrated the three locales for Wi-Fi use, iPass director of corporate communications, John Sidline, said.
As such, it helped IT departments keep the cost of managing and operating a unified Wi-Fi network under control, he said.
With the service, iPass extends policy management and enforcement, connection reporting and ease-of-use across all networks into a single integrated service, Sidline said. “There are companies trying to bring components of this service to the market right now, but we’re the only ones integrating the software and policy management and enforcement into an entire service that roams networks around the world,” he said.
Sidline said the service aimed to address some key challenges facing mobile workforces and the IT departments that supported them including network security risks, and an increase in IT help desk support costs.
“We have perfected a way of integrating IP networks and policy and security systems [including the VPNs, firewalls and antivirus,” he said.
IDC analyst, Keith Waryas, said wireless LAN technologies could create serious management and security concerns for IT departments supporting these users.
He said the value of a service such as iPass was that it gave IT professionals a centralised platform, which could be used to manage security, authentication and access policies as well as control the cost of operating across a host of public and private networks.
The service, now in beta testing, would be available in January.
It used existing software already deployed by customers, Sidline said, There were no additional hardware or software requirements.
“It eliminates the need to have multiple software and authentication practices,” he said.
Employees could use iPassConnect to access corporate hotspots, Sidline said. Home users could set SSIDs and WEP keys into iPassConnect.
Sidline expected the service — which will cost under $US10 per active user per month — to do well in the Australia.
“Wi-Fi is ramping up quickly in public hotspots, in particular, and the Asia-Pacific landscape is similar to the North American scene,” he said. In Australia, iPass has more than 150 public hotspots.