T-Mobile Offers Hotspot Software

By Eric Griffith

March 12, 2004

Using a branded version of PCTEL's software, the provider of Starbucks-based Wi-Fi hopes to make it easier for users to connect.

Public access Wi-Fi networks -- hotspots to you -- are great for users on the go, but they don't do much if you can't find them or connect to the Internet once you're there.

T-Mobile Hotspot, currently the largest hotspot provider around with 4,200 locations, is trying to make connections easier. While subscribers can log into a T-Mobile Hotspot by resetting your Wi-FI card's SSID to "tmobile" and calling up a Web page in which you enter your username and password, the company today released software to make the connections even simpler.

Called T-Mobile Connect Manger, the software is free to download from the company Web site and will be available on CDS in April. The CDs can be picked up at T-Mobile hotspots such as Starbucks Coffee Houses or Kinkos.

According to T-Mobile senior manager of media relations Bryan Zidar, the software is a private label version of PCTEL's Segue Roaming Client. T-Mobile has customized the software with its logo and color scheme. PCTEL also provides the client for use by AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless (which are soon to merge).

The Connection Manager software will automate find any accessible T-Mobile network and connect a subscriber to it. The software can even be used to enforce some security policy, for example by preventing connections until a virtual private network (VPN) tunnel is established.

T-Mobile's Connection Manager contains a a directory of all the hotspot locations so you can find places to get access while on the road.

Subscribers will still be able to access the hotspots using the Web page -- the software is not required.

T-Mobile Hotspot recently became a part of the iPass virtual network, which iPass supplies to enterprises and resellers. iPass subscribers use the iPassConnect software in a similar way, to automatically find points of access and to connect. Plus the software will enforce security policies on users, as dictated by IT managers.

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