Toshiba and iPass join forces in Wi-Fi effort
- By John K. Waters
More of the high tech world is jumping onto the wireless ''hot spot''
bandwagon. The latest to join the party, Toshiba's Computer Systems Group and
iPass Inc., joined forces to integrate hot spots based on Toshiba's technology
into the iPass Global Broadband Roaming (GBR) service.
Wireless LAN hot spots provide high-speed access to e-mail, data and
business-critical applications using virtually any wireless LAN and mobile
access device in public areas, such as airports, hotels and restaurants. Public
wireless access is considered a hot growth area. Researchers at Analysis
Consulting expect the number of 802.11 wireless hot spots in public venues to
grow to 41,000 and reach 21 million users worldwide by 2007.
Redwood Shores, Calif.-based iPass enables secure access via wireless and
wireline broadband, ISDN, dial-up and other access media, over multiple computer
platforms and devices, through its iPassConnect client.
The iPass GBR service is a connectivity service that includes over 400 Wi-Fi
hot spots across the globe, according to the company. Currently, the iPass GBR
service includes airports in Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Minneapolis, San Jose and
Seattle. In addition, the GBR service provides over 100,000 wireline broadband
access points in hotels.
This agreement will permit iPass enterprise users to access the Internet and
their corporate networks at Wi-Fi locations operated by local and regional
service providers, but managed by Toshiba. Toshiba will provide commercial
venues, such as hotels and coffee shops, or wireless ISPs, with the hot-spot
equipment, back-end support for their wireless system and tier 1 end-user
support. Toshiba plans to have 1,000 hot spots in its network by year's end, the
''Toshiba is uniquely positioned to be successful in the hot spot market,''
said Anurag Lal, iPass vice president of business development. He said his
firm's security expertise should work well with Toshiba's ''aggressive approach
to deploying hot spots at locations as diverse as coffee shops and hotels.''
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Toshiba's Computer Systems Group, a division
of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. (TAIS), is a maker of notebook
computers, portable and wireless accessories, Pocket PC devices, projectors and
mobile server computing solutions.
''Wireless is the next frontier and its adoption will be driven by enterprise
users,'' said Oscar Koenders, vice president of product marketing for Toshiba
CSG. ''For six years iPass has been perfecting the way the mobile enterprise
workforce connects to corporate resources'' and thus becomes ''Toshiba's first
alliance in our new wireless strategy.''
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached