Boingo Gets Another Partner

By Eric Griffith

July 24, 2002

Venue owners and hotspot entrepreneurs setting up public Wi-Fi access based on NetNearU's Routing Access Point product instantly become Boingo network members.

Wi-Fi hotspot aggregator Boingo Wireless of Santa Monica, CA, has added another company to a growing list that offer products compatible with Boingo's growing network. Public Internet access company NetNearU of College Station, TX, will automatically offer Boingo access to any hotspot operator who purchases and installs the NetNearU Routing Access Point or other hardware running NetNearU's software.

The intent, according to Cody Catalena, NetNearU's Chief Technology Officer, is that owner operators of hotspots with Boingo support will end up with more revenue because Boingo end-users will come to their location.

The NetNearU wireless Routing Access Point (RAP, model RP-5001) is a VHS-sized, 'plug-and-play' hardware unit that works with any broadband connection to provide user and credit card authentication, revenue reporting, equipment monitoring, and access control. The product is coupled with NetNearU's TRACKOS system management software, which handles the authentication, authorization and accounting (AAA). NetNearU's software solution is also available to OEMs.

According to Christian Gunning of Boingo Wireless, the NetNearU hotspot devices will continue to point to the NetNearU clearinghouse directly.

"When [Boingo] customers go through them, the authentication request is forwarded to our servers," says Gunning. "The integration with NetNearU is on the backend system."

This deal with NetNearU is not a first or an exclusive partnership for Boingo. Boingo will not be reselling the NetNearU RAP or TRACKOS, which sell together for about $595 at the high end. The company already resells hotspot hardware called Boingo Hot Spot in a Box for $895.99. That product, actually a Colubris CN3000 Wireless Access Controller, is also preconfigured to work with the Boingo network.

Boingo's new partnership with NetNearU is similar to a deal it has with another wireless network partner, AirPath Wireless, which also resells a "Hotspot in a Box" product.

Boingo offers its own Hot-Spot-in-a-Box specification to any hardware makers who wish to create Boingo-ready gateways.

"There are lots of locations that need to be lit up and it'll take a concerted effort by all to get it done," says Gunning.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

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