Neutral-Host WLAN Deployed in Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport

By Matthew Peretz

April 04, 2002

Deal involves Concourse Communications, iPass, and InterNetwork Experts, as well as technology from Nomadix.

InterNetwork Experts, a subsidiary of I-Sector Corporation, announced today that it has completed the implementation of 802.11b infrastructure at the Minneapolis-St.Paul Airport, as part of the deployment of a neutral-host wireless system developed by Concourse Communications Group and iPass. According to the company, this airport is the first to deploy a neutral-host WLAN. One of three hub airports for Northwest Airlines, MSP is the eighth largest airport in the United States, with over 34 million total passengers in 2001. A public corporation, the Metropolitan Airports Commission owns and operates MSP and six reliever airports in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan region.

The neutral-host wireless network enables a single, integrated wireless broadband system to accommodate subscribers from different wireless providers. iPass provides the enabling roaming platform for the network through its patent-pending authentication, billing and settlement technologies.

During the initial phase of service, coverage will include the main Lindbergh Terminal concourses C, D, E and F, the Northstar Crossing concession area, and Northwest Airlines' World Club lounge located next to Chili's Too restaurant. Successful completion of this initial phase will be followed by expanded coverage into concourses A, B and G, the Concourse C addition, and a possible extension to the Humphrey Terminal.

The network will also be available for use by concessionaires and airlines within the airport to support their operations. Anyone traveling in MSP equipped with a laptop or handheld device, such as the Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC, and a Wi-Fi network card is able to gain secure access to the Internet via a direct agreement with iPass or one of its more than 600 ISP or Value-Added Reseller partners. The service will be available free of charge through April 30, 2002. Effective May 1, 2002 end users not affiliated with a service provider can obtain walk-up access to the network with billing to a credit card. The fee for the service will be $7.95 for unlimited daily access.

The Nomadix USG product is actually installed and running all of the secure roaming access control functionality. InterNetwork Experts managed the design and installation aspects of the network for Concourse Communications.

The neutral-host platform from Concourse supports wireless voice, data, and video services offered by commercial wireless service providers, airport operators, and their airline tenants. Concourse stated that their system is being implemented at several of the nation's largest airports.



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