As of last week, iPass says only a year after going Wi-Fi, its Global Broadband Roaming (GBR) service was up to over 1000 public access Wi-Fi hotspots, available for use by the provider’s enterprise customers.
John Russo, vice president of marketing at iPass, goes out of his way to point out that these are actual, working hotspots that the company has certified. “iPass has been careful not to announce a number of hotspots ‘under contract’.”
The reason: iPass runs a virtual network. It doesn’t build the hotspots for Wi-Fi connections (nor the Ethernet networks they can take advantage of, either). Russo says “Our service touches all these networks. We take advantage of the networks already in place.”
iPass requires networks on the GBR service be interoperable with their client software, with the virtual private networks clients and personal firewall software they support. The 1000 hotspots milestone only indicates venues it has certified. The company also provides services via some 400+ wired Ethernet networks as well.
iPass hotspots are now available in 16 major airports and 500 hotels in 10 countries (Australia, Denmark, Spain, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom, United States, and the US Virgin Islands). The GBR service is running on networks provided by various providers (Wayport and Surf and Sip, for example) or products (such as those from Pronto Networks) that support the iPass generic interface specification (GIS), as standard for wireless gateways the company set forth last year.
iPass is currently in its ‘quiet period’ as they await approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a public offering sometime this year.