Intel, iPass Target Business Travelers

Duo inks multi-year deal to improve access to Wi-Fi networks.

iPass Inc. on Monday announced a multi-year deal with Intel Corp. to collaborate on products for business travelers.

For starters, the two companies plan to ensure interoperability between iPass iPassConnect network access client and Intels upcoming Banias processor for notebook computers, due out early next year.

Intel also is developing network adapters that will enable Banias to support both 802.11b and 802.11a "Wi-Fi" wireless LAN networks.

"IT departments are concerned about the security of data transmitted in the air as well as the costs associated with both purchasing Wi-Fi devices and training their people on how to connect," said Ken Denman, president and CEO of iPass, in a statement. "The collaboration between iPass and Intel has already begun to tear down these barriers … The goal is to make the Wi-Fi user experience as simple to use as Internet dial-up but with the speed and productivity of a broadband connection."

Ipass provides both a wireless public "hot spot" network for the corporate set as well as networks for corporate campuses. The company already tests its network with most major virtual private network clients and firewalls to ensure interoperability; those tests soon will include compatibility testing with Banias, officials said.

Earlier this year iPass announced the latest version of its secure remote access software, iPass Connect version 2.3, which enables traveling workers to use a single user interface to get access to corporate intranets via a WLAN both on a corporate campus or from a wireless public hot spot. The roaming capability also is supposed to cut down on ad hoc Wi-Fi deployments inside a corporate environment.

Officials at iPass said that they plan to keep selling their software directly to enterprise customers, but as carriers start to get more involved with WLAN deployment, they may take advantage of it, too.

Currently iPass supports only notebooks but will add Pocket PC support by early next year.