Cloud-Based Wi-Fi Access System Launched by iPass

iPass has launched its cloud-based “Business Traveler Service 2.0,”  a cloud-based service delivery model that illustrates the value of “network functions virtualization.”

The cloud-based authentication approach service addresses the “time to gain access” problem when uers log in to 2.7 million hotspots in airports, airplanes, hotels and public areas worldwide.

The iPass service simplifies connectivity for the “Wi-Fi first” business travelers, who can now use a single log-in for Wi-Fi access at iPass locations, from PCs, tablets or smartphones at 3,000 airports and 22 airlines, on approximately 2,150 airplanes flown by 22 airlines, as well as 72,000 hotels and convention centers.

Enterprises using the iPass Business Travel 2.0 service eliminates  the need for employees to
use credit cards to gain access, while also supplying high quality, advertisement-free
Wi-Fi service.

Businesses simply provide a list of users who they would like to access the service, and iPass takes care of the rest.

iPass uses automated messaging to inform users about the service, prompt them to activate their accounts and then keep them engaged in using the service. In addition, iPass takes care of all end user communications and support, as well as providing hotspot information so travelers can find the best Wi-Fi connectivity where they happen to be.

Google’s new plans to create a virtualized Wi-Fi controller network for enterprises and smaller businesses also uses a network functions virtualization or, as enterprises prefer to say, “software defined network,” represent a similar cloud-based approach for providing end users Wi-Fi access provided by retailers and other enterprises.

The Google business Wi-Fi service aims to provide retailers with an easier way to provision Wi-Fi access for customers in stores and other related venues.

What is new here, for both iPass and the proposed new Google business Wi-Fi service, is
the use of cloud-based, distributed control to manage access points, making the enterprise-class gear more affordable and easing the administrative chores associated with local operation of the Wi-Fi network.

Both iPass and Google expect the use of a virtualized control capability--in the cloud--will provide more convenient and faster customer log-in experience.
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