The Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport
is up and running with high speed Wi-Fi Internet access in what is being described as the first neutral-host wireless network at a major U.S. public facility.
It was developed by Massachusetts-based Concourse Communications Group
and iPass Inc., a global provider of secure remote connectivity services. The system is delivered across an end-to-end Cisco system.
managed the design and installation of the end-to-end Cisco
infrastructure for Concourse Communications. The network is delivered through an Aironet Wi-Fi compliant wireless local area network (WLAN) and the Cisco Building Broadband Services Manager software platform.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) provides seamless service to travelers whether they are iPass corporate and individual customers, WISP/ISP end-users, or walk-up subscribers needing fast Internet access. “Simply insert your LAN card, start your web browser and connect automatically to the MSP Airport Accesssm service,” the airport tells waiting passengers. “From the main screen, you can connect to the Internet or your corporate network for $7.95.” As a special promotion, the service is being offered free of charge through May 1, 2002.
MSP joins a growing list of airports with airport-wide deployment of wireless local area networks. “The use of Wi-Fi systems in public venues will be one of the fastest growing segments of the wireless communications market in 2002,” said Richard DiGeronimo
, CEO of Concourse Communications. “And in that segment, we believe the airports are the most important hotspots. The neutral-host model we are deploying works best to serve the needs of the airport, the end user and the growing number of Internet service providers wanting to serve that market.”
“High-speed wireless access to the Internet makes it simple and convenient for travelers to check or send e-mail, access documents and remain productive while awaiting their flight,” said Brian Peters, assistant manager of airline affairs at the Metropolitan Airports Commission.
Anyone traveling in MSP equipped with a laptop or handheld device, such as the Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC, and a Wi-Fi network card is able to gain secure access to the Internet via a direct agreement with iPass or one of its more than 600 ISP or Value-Added Reseller partners. The service will be available free of charge through April 30, 2002. Effective May 1, 2002 end users not affiliated with a service provider can obtain walk-up access to the network with billing to a credit card. The fee for the service will be $7.95 for unlimited daily access.
“Creating a shared infrastructure in public venues ensures a level playing field for all wireless service providers and enables more procurement options for end users,” commented
, president and CEO of iPass. “We feel this will lead to a wider availability of the service, which will ultimately lead to increased user uptake and increased revenue opportunities for service providers and venue operators. We are excited to be enabling this initiative and are confident that it will help accelerate the growth of the Wi-Fi market.”
“The common infrastructure opens up a wide range of possibilities for traveler access and creative integration of applications and services between airlines, airports, airport concessions and travelers,” said Bob Simmons, global director and managing principal for Compaq Global Services?f Mobility Practice. “The possibilities can only be achieved through formation of the right partnerships between venue operators, content owners, and the computing and communication infrastructure providers. Compaq Global Services is pleased to be working with Concourse Communications, iPass, Cisco Systems and others to speed the adoption of end-to-end solutions for public venues.”
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