iPass of Redwood Shores, Calif., has had some success providing dial-up and Wi-Fi to corporate users to let them connect from just about anywhere — so it’s only natural that the hot 3G technology called EV-DO would be integrated next.
The first steps have already been taken to support the technology, but this week the company went a little farther, announcing that Sierra Wireless is becoming a new iPass Alliance Technology Partner, and as such, the Sierra AirCard 580 — a PC Card for connecting laptops to CMDA 1xRTT/EV-DO networks — will also become certified to work with the iPass Mobile Data Service, its name for connecting to such always-on cellular data services. Others include GPRS, UMTS and EDGE.
“This is the first of several cards that we can resell and package so users can get a single bill and single interface,” says Jon Russo, the vice president of marketing and mobility at iPass. Corporations providing the service and certified cards to employees will get only one bill for all Internet access the employee uses while on the road, whether broadband, wired, wireless or dial-up.
Russo says there are several 3G cards that work with the Mobile Data Service, from companies like Sierra, Sony Ericsson, Novatel and others. The connections made via these cards will integrate the iPass policy management features, making sure endpoints (client systems) are up to snuff, security-wise. Non-certified cards, however, may be subject to outside fees from carriers.
The iPass virtual network now includes 21,000 Wi-Fi-based hotspots, dial-up access in 150 countries, and what they call a “nationwide 1xRTT and EV-DO service,” which they won’t name due to contractual limitations. This is despite the fact that it is painfully obvious that the provider is Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess. (If you don’t believe it for some strange reason, compare the iPass EV-DO coverage map, provided by JiWire, to that of Verizon’s.)
iPass is teaming with BrightPoint to handle all the fulfillment and delivery of products for wireless communications products. The company’s Wireless Fulfillment Services LLC subsidiary is used by several of the major cellular carriers.