By Dennis Jones
Partnerships with Devicescape and Fon bring our hotspot coverage up to 50 million hotspots, offering users always-on, secure Wi-Fi access in conjunction with “last mile” data encryption
The profile of devices connecting to iPass has dramatically changed over the past few years. Smartphones and tablets now represent 75 percent of our network use, while laptops represent the remaining 25 percent. iPass device usage patterns track pretty closely to general device usage patterns outside of the iPass network, where smartphones, in particular, are displacing laptops as the default device used to access the Internet.
What does this mean for Wi-Fi users? First of all, handheld devices, which users carry all the time, tend to demand a different kind of connectivity than laptops, which users only carry some of the time. Specifically, handheld devices require “casual and unplanned” connections, as users stay connected while on the go, around town, at their local café, retail store, or public park.
So what has iPass done to meet the connectivity needs of handheld device users? Well, iPass has diversified its global Wi-Fi footprint to include more amenity and community Wi-Fi locations, which offer an even higher density of coverage in urban locations. Amenity and community Wi-Fi locations might seem somewhat complex as concepts, but they’re pretty simple to understand with some explanation. Amenity Wi-Fi, for instance, is shared, complimentary Wi-Fi intended for guests and customers of businesses and public spaces. Our partner Devicescape, a wireless networking company, has crowdsourced its network of amenity Wi-Fi locations, especially in the US and Europe, into what it calls the Curated Virtual Network (or CVN). The CVN monitors and controls the quality of amenity Wi-Fi locations, which it curates into the network. And now iPass users can seamlessly and securely connect to these amenity locations.
In the case of community hotpots, users open up their personal Wi-Fi network to the community; it’s Wi-Fi’s nod to the collaborative ethos of the sharing economy. In more technical terms, home Wi-Fi routers come equipped with a second SSID, which is left open for public access.
Finally, what are the benefits of further opening the iPass network to millions of community and amenity Wi-Fi locations, nearly 30 million through partnerships with Devicescape and Fon? Well for users who just want to connect seamlessly wherever they are, a network of 50 million hotspots offers connectivity on a truly extraordinary scale. And now customers who want an added layer of security when accessing these 50 million hotspots can also rest easy. iPass now offers “last mile” data encryption through our Last Mile VPN, which keeps data protected where it’s most vulnerable: between a user’s device and iPass’ secure Internet gateway.