Connexion by Boeing, a business unit of The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), and iPass Inc. (NASDAQ: IPAS) today announced an agreement to deliver iPass enterprise customers secure in-flight Wi-Fi Internet connectivity. Through the agreement iPass users will have access to the Connexion by BoeingSM mobile Internet service through the iPass Global Broadband Roaming network. Now, enterprise IT managers and CIOs can provide their mobile workers with a near-seamless, high-speed wireless experience to manage their time at hotels, airports and now on airplanes—more productively. This agreement marks Connexion by Boeing's first contracted Wi-Fi enterprise access provider.
Connexion by Boeing, the only real-time, high-speed connectivity service available to commercial airline passengers and iPass, which operates the world's largest Wi-Fi roaming network with over 11,000 active hotspots in 33 countries, complement each other perfectly. Through the iPass Global Broadband Roaming (GBR) network and the Connexion by Boeing service, the more than 528,000 distinct monthly iPass users will be able to connect to their corporate networks, send and receive emails with attachments, access files and business applications and surf the entire Internet while in the air. This partnership combines two great services to benefit the enterprise and the corporate 'road warrior,' changing the way business is conducted on the road and, now, in the air.
Wi-Fi (or Wi-fi, WiFi, Wifi, wifi), for "Wireless Fidelity", is a set of standards for wireless local area networks (WLAN) based on the IEEE 802.11 specifications. Certified products can use the official Wi-Fi logo, which indicates that the product is interoperable with any other product also showing the logo.
Wi-Fi was intended to be used for wireless devices and LANs, but is now often also used for Internet access. It enables a person with a wireless-enabled computer or personal digital assistant (PDA) to connect to the Internet by moving within, for example, 15 meters of an access point, called "hotspot".
"Wi-Fi, for business travelers, will rival extra legroom as a 'must-have' airline amenity," said John Yunker, an analyst with Byte Level Research. "iPass and Connexion by Boeing make a good fit. Connexion by Boeing provides Wi-Fi in the sky while iPass provides start-to-finish connectivity for the business traveler across thousands of locations."
Connexion by Boeing has agreements with major air carriers that operate at airports serviced by iPass including Copenhagen Airport, Narita/New Tokyo Airport and Changi Airport. In total, iPass offers broadband access at 121 airports in 21 countries—including 49 of the world's busiest as measured by passenger volume, making the Connexion by Boeing service an important link in a continually growing chain of broadband connectivity designed for mobile enterprise users.
"Having a proven and secure method for enterprise travelers to connect to real-time high-speed Internet-based services is critical for doing business in a global environment," said Connexion by Boeing Vice President of Marketing and Direct Sales David Friedman. "Our agreement with iPass addresses that need and provides us with a proven market partner that will help ensure the Connexion by Boeing service is readily available in key markets and airports served by our airline customers. As Wi-Fi providers in the transportation and travel sectors have found, there are tremendous numbers of business travelers who rely on their corporate IT organization to equip them with advanced connectivity capabilities and we want to be a part of that solution."
The Connexion by Boeing network will now enter the iPass Enterprise Ready certification program, where it will be certified by iPass as Enterprise Ready by passing a rigorous testing regimen to ensure service availability, as well as interoperability with policy and security tools, such as virtual private networks, personal firewalls and virus protection.
"As a frequent long-haul flier myself, no one will be more thrilled to see the Connexion by Boeing service integrated with the iPass GBR network," said Anurag Lal, vice president of business development at iPass. "Some of the flights I've taken last well over 12 hours, so increased productivity in the air is greatly needed. Users of this service will no longer have to wait the length of their flight—a full business day—for the vital business information that can help win that important deal or address a critical business issue. The iPass and Connexion relationship brings the industry closer to ultimate goal of anywhere, anytime secure connectivity."