Boingo Deals the Cards

Continuing to forge deals to push the adoption of public-access wireless LANs (AKA hotspots), Santa Monica, CA- based Boingo Wireless has forged a cross promotion deal with network solutions provider Netgear of Santa Clara, CA and Proxim of Sunnyvale, CA. Boingo has previously announced similar deals with SMC Networks.

Anyone who purchases a three month subscription to Boingo Wireless using the client software now included with the Netgear 802.11b Wireless PC Card (the MA401) will be offered a $50 rebate. Boingo will in turn market the Netgear card to subscribers of its wireless services.

The Boingo software’s availability — it will be part of the install wizard used to configure the cards with the factory drivers and configuration managers — from Netgear willbe , for now, limited to Netgear’s PC Card. “It’s primarily for mobile people,” says Netgear Chairman and CEO Patrick Lo. “Boingo is catering to mobile people, so the prerequisite is to have a laptop.

“If the PDAs get hot, and I think they will next year (I think the PocketPC PDA price will go below $250); then in that case a Compact Flash card might be added.”

Lo calls this deal the launch of the “cell phone theory” for hotspots, and feels it’s similar to how a cellular carrier uses multiple phones for its network. Boingo can use any 802.11b-based card in a laptop. Netgear is simply the first in use.

“It’s like the cell phone guys,” say Lo. “First they’d go exclusive like Cingular with Motorola, but now they are all offering all sorts of phones.” This deal is not exclusive, so Netgear can carry client software for other networks or network aggregators in the box; similarly, Boingo can market other client cards as well.

Proxim also announced today that it will bundle Boingo Wireless software in the driver for its new ORiNOCO ComboCard for both 802.11a and 802.11b networks. The Silver ComboCard is $149 and supports up to 156-bit WEP , the Gold ComboCard is $179 and has 802.1X support with dynamic rekeying.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

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