ISP Review - Improving Wireless Internet Access

Looking at how to improve wireless Internet access for businesses

Improving Wireless Net Access
By Anurag Lal : January 22nd - 2002 : Page 1 of 3

"Since no single service provider covers every hotel, airport and convention centre, travelers may be required to manage multiple accounts"

This ISP Review article has been written for us by Anurag Lal, Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Services @ iPass Inc., a global provider of aggregated remote Internet access and settlement services for dial-up, wireless and broadband technologies.


Simplicity is a concept that elicits a sense of calm that most travelers relish. That is, until the alarm clock in your hotel room goes off with a jarring buzz at what seems to be an all-too-early hour, your flight schedule changes three times in one day, and your most important client pages you urgently with an unexpected crisis.

Simplicity is coveted because it's a precious and scarce commodity in the business world. But for a growing percentage of the workforce, whose lifeline consists of a briefcase stuffed with a laptop, PDA and wireless phone, simplicity is not always easy to achieve.

That's why many travelers are happy to learn that business centres in airports, convention facilities and hotels have begun to provide simplified high-speed Internet services in the hopes of attracting business travelers and fulfilling mobile professionals' dreams of simple connectivity and fast connections with the home office.

However, there is a bump along the information highway that soon becomes apparent for the average roaming user. Consider the typical business traveler, who finds herself with a few minutes to spare at the airport, and decides to check email to see if her customers have tried to contact her while she was out of the office.

To gain access to the network, the traveler downloads the required software from the wireless provider that services the airport, and, assuming that her hardware is compatible, gains access to the network. Later, at the convention centre, she decides to check email to make sure one of her customers is getting the help he needs. Again, software must be downloaded to gain access from the convention centre service provider. Finally, the traveler heads back to the hotel, after a long day, and decides to check email one last time before turning in. The traveler may have to download software from yet another service provider to gain access to the corporate network.

This problem has been a nagging one. Since no single service provider covers every hotel, airport and convention centre, travelers may be required to manage multiple accounts, multiple invoices and multiple technologies before gaining access to the information they need. More often than not, the traveler has to sacrifice simplicity to get network access during business trips, and may avoid these services all together because of the awkward complexity.

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