iPass Upgrades Client, Adds Roaming

By Eric Griffith

October 28, 2002

Connectivity services company iPass of Redwood Shores, CA, has announced an upgrade to its 'smart client' software for end-users of its service.

Connectivity services company iPass of Redwood Shores, CA, has announced an upgrade to its 'smart client' software for end-users of its service.

The new iPassConnect 2.3 client software will communicate instantly with any access gateway that supports iPass's Generic Interface Specification (GIS), a method for the clients to authenticate at Wi-Fi hotspots. Currently, GIS is supported in gateways made by companies including Cisco , Pronto, and Aptilo.

Piero De Paoli, senior product manager at iPass, oversees the development of the iPassConnect smart client. He says the GIS support lets iPass "add broadband providers like we do with dial-up providers today."

Also in the 2.3 release is On Campus Roaming (OCR), which the company says will let users roam on and off a facility campus, but still get full access to the enterprise network. Thus customer WLANs become part of the iPass Global Broadband Roaming virtual network service.

"A corporation putting wireless in their facility can follow the GIS specification -- use one of the gateways from a manufacturer we partner with -- and they can make their facility look like a hotspot. The gateway is outside the firewall. The users use a VPN since its outside, and this is a secure method [of connecting]," says Paoli.

A campus WLAN that becomes part of the iPass network is included in the iPassConnect directory "phonebook" of network points of presence (POP) . The phone book is made of POPs such as hotspots, wired networks, and even a modem dial-up numbers. The experience for the iPass user should be the same no matter how he or she connects (interface-wise, not speed-wise).

The smart client also now integrates with the Sygate Personal Firewall software, in addition to BlackIce and ZoneAlarm.

"Before a user connects, [iPassConnect 2.3] checks to see if Sygate Personal Firewall is running," says Paoli. "If an IT department wants it, we can force the firewall to all users. If it's not running, we can prompt an error message to tell them why they can't [go online]. If a user disables the firewall or it goes down, we'll disconnect the user from the Internet."

Last week, iPass announced that any network provider that wants to become part of the iPass global virtual network must now undergo interoperability testings with security systems such as firewalls and virtual private networks (VPNs) to be labeled as "Enterprise Ready." As of that announcement, iPass had certified 210 network providers.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

802.11 Planet Conference How can your hotspot become part of a greater network? Join us at the 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo, Dec. 3-5 in Santa Clara, CA. One of our sessions will cover Integrating Smaller WISPs into Larger Networks.

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