iPass opens client-side connectivity

Pressured by corporate clients to allow employess to connect to enterprise networks through free WiFi hotspots, iPass this week has opened its client-side connectivity software to allow users to connect to the Internet through wireless and fixed networks which are not part of the company's aggregate system. Corporations would still benefit from having their employees connect to the corporate networks through aggregated iPass APs, as such a conenction would be free, but the new iPass policy offers customers far greater flexibility, even if it costs more (some of the non-aggregagted third-party hostpost may charge for the conenection).

It should be emphasized that iPass' enhanced security will extend to the connections through non-aggregated APs. A year ago, iPass bolstered the security it offered customers by allowing iPass Connect to operate as an extension of customers' own security policy maintenance systems. The application would take and install IT department-sanction OS patches and make sure that the firewall, anti-virus, and VPN software is up to date. The updated version of iPass Connect will now use the same method even if the AP the customer is using is not part of the iPass network (indeed, the same security method will be used if the customer is connecting to the corporate network from home).

For more on iPass new plan:
- see Tony Smith's TheRegister report

BACKGROUND: iPass Connect circumvents the built-in Windows WiFi connectivity software and also third-party offerings such as Intel's ProSet. iPass' software relies on digital fingerprinting technology acquired last December with the purchase of Safe3W. The software makes sure that the connecting computer is the machine it claims to be, which makes it possible for customers to connect through unauthorized APs without losing security. iPass offers Windows, Mac OS X, and PocketPC versions of iPass Connect, but only the Windows version supports the new authentication system. Analysis

PLUS: Swiss company WeRoam has signed up four new European WISPs, bolstering its hotspot offerings in France, Spain, Greece, and Finland. Release