iPass and Intel Work to Improve Wireless

By Eric Griffith

December 16, 2002

Under a new multi-year agreement, the two companies will work to make sure the Intel Banias platform is 'Enterprise Ready' and that the iPassConnect client interoperates with Intel's forthcoming mobile technology.

Redwood Shores, CA-based iPass said this week that it's entering into a multi-year agreement with Intel Corp. to improve access to Wi-Fi networks, specifically for systems that will be based on the chip giant's Banias mobile platform.

Banias features an entirely new processor micro-architecture for Intel chips in laptops and will integrate 802.11b via a miniPCI card and eventually dual-band 802.11a/b Wi-Fi support, using the a chipset codenamed Calexico. Banias will also take advantage of several technologies to improve power consumption. Banias will available on OEM laptops in early 2003.

Intel wants to increase the ease of use of it's built in Wi-Fi, so they've chosen to work with iPass, whose iPassConnect client software allows users to connect to any of 14,000 public access areas on iPass's network. Working together (which is not much of a stretch since Intel is an investor in iPass and the two companies share a common board advisor), iPass will validate the interoperability between the client software and systems using Banias.

The iPassConnect client can be used not only to access Wi-Fi networks, but also for dial-up, ISDN, and wired broadband connections, as well. The Window's version of the software integrates with VPNs from companies like Cisco, Nortel, CheckPoint and Intel; and with personal firewalls like BlackIce, Sygate, and ZoneAlarm.

iPass has an Enterprise Ready quality assessment program in place to certify anyone who'd like to be part of the iPass global virtual network. Banias is currently undergoing that same testing. Through the length of the agreement, the two companies will make sure of complete interoperability between the Intel equipment and the iPass network.

Jon Russo, VP of marketing at iPass, calls this deal "another endorsement on the explosive growth of Wi-Fi" but calls this initial certification between the two companies "step one of many steps." What's to follow is not yet known, but he expects further information to be solid enough for announcement in the first quarter of 2003.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

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