Sun Shines on Hotspots

Pleasanton, Calif.-based Pronto Networks, which makes operational support systems (OSS) for network operators, particularly for hotspot and other wireless providers, is behind the power of a new product branded and sold by Sun Microsystems .

The product is called iForce Wi-Fi Hotspot Appliance and was unveiled this week at the CTIA Wireless 2004 show in Atlanta.

Jasbir Singh, president and CEO of Pronto, says that while his company has previously had hotspot controllers — the hardware that would be located at the hotspot itself, such as in a hotel or coffee shop — this unit is meant for operators to install in their network operating center (NOC).

“One size does not fit everybody,” says Singh. “The right segmentation is required. And the mid-tier players need a turnkey solution that can work for them.” The unit will come in flavors licensed for 25, 50 or 100 hotspots and handles all AAA, log-in pages/walled gardens, trouble tickets, and even roaming settlements with hotspot aggregators.

Sun will sell the iForce Appliance for $14,995 (base price) via its Sun Authorized iForce Channel Partners. The product will support not only Sun’s Solaris platform (on the Sun Fire V210 server) but also Linux OS (the Sun Fire V60x server). Hotspot controllers are $799.

“This is a first of its kind — no other OSS appliances will let you set up 25 to 100 hotspots,” says Singh. “The primary motive is to make it so simple that the real barrier — how to set this up — goes away.”

Carriers needing to support over 100 hotspots can move up to Pronto’s software running on Sun Netra systems.

Pronto also announced a deal with roaming clearinghouse Syniverse (formerly TSI).

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