Based: Woburn, MA

Founded: 2001

Why it’s Fierce: With all of the attention focused on the capabilities of broadband wireless networks, operation support services (OSS) and clearinghouse solutions are often neglected. But they are critical to the success of broadband wireless. In comes Airpath. The company offers an OSS and clearinghouse solution for network operators, service providers and systems integrators to deploy and manage metropolitan and municipal broadband wireless networks. Airpath's hosted platforms deliver all of the tools to provision, manage, authenticate and bill retail end-users and to clear and settle wholesale roaming transactions. The company's solutions are hardware independent and designed to scale from a single venue to major metropolitan networks.

Airpath offers some nice features. Municipal WiFi operators can customize the web portal pages and service plans for different locations in a city, all while managing the process from a centralized, web-based administration console. Venues such as hotels can run reports on how many users they have, and how often and how long they are logging in. Hotels can use WiFi as a service differentiator by providing guests a customizable user interface. Other options include different service plans, the provision of prepaid coupons or billing the access to the room.

What to look for: Muni WiFi operators and other hotspot providers are just scratching the surface when it comes to value-added applications for WiFi services. Look for Airpath to continue to offer some creative ways for these operators to entice users.