Quiconnect has today launched its new Connector software which will enable service providers to "push" Wi-Fi or WiMAX connectivity to laptop users, so they avoid having to login through operator branded landing pages or input credentials such as user names and passwords.
A small piece of client software installed on the user's laptop, said to be easily customised to the specific branding of the wireless service provider, Connector detects wireless networks within range, identifies those which belong to home and office networks or public hotspot providers (and their international roaming partners) and sends a message to consumers informing them that connectivity is available.
Jeff Mabe, Quiconnect's vice president, sales and marketing, says, "Since 2005, we've predominately worked at the back end integrating RADIUS servers to make it easy for service providers and network operators globally to interconnect their WLAN infrastructure to enable in and outbound international subscriber roaming. From a consumer perspective, some individual operator branding on partner websites has been added to make it easier for people to get connected, but it's still a manual login process of going to a page, searching for one's ISP, putting in registration details and so on. Connector removes this and automates the whole process."
Installing Connector therefore means that consumers now have two options in terms of how they get connected. First, they can choose a setting to automatically login to any WLAN infrastructure owned by their home service provider or those of associated roaming partners. In other words, as soon as a person is in range of a hotspot, connectivity is provided. Second, a user can select an available network individually by clicking on the wireless network tab on their computer's tool bar, viewing the wireless networks available and then simply choosing the appropriate SSID to login.
The architecture of the Connector system includes two components: a lightweight laptop-based connection utility, comprising utility library and user interface, which allows connectivity management functions between the client device and hosted network service. The second component is a Quiconnect-hosted knowledgebase database which stores the connection policies, network parameters and roaming service availability which is provided to the connection utility to control access and provide the necessary authentication information to enable automated user login.
Quiconnect's Connector software supports various authentication methods such as WISPr, UAM and IEEE 802.1x.
Connector is available today, supporting both Microsoft Windows XP and Vista laptop users. Pricing is based on the number of users to be connected by a service provider, along with associated set up, customisation and IT staff training and maintenance requirements.
In addition to the millions of laptops already in day-to-day use, according to data from research and consulting firm, Strategy Analytics, portable consumer Wi-Fi devices will grow from 65 million units sold in 2008 to 104 million devices sold by 2010 in Western Europe. These devices include: digital cameras, MP3 players, media players, games consoles, dual mode cell phones, mobile Internet devices (MIDs), netbooks, notebooks and navigation devices (PNDs).
Mabe concludes, "Connector takes the webpage login step out of the connectivity equation to automate and speed up the process of accessing the Internet on the move which is crucial, not only to energise network traffic usage to increase service provider revenue, but given the raft of wireless enabled devices on the market today and those expected to be launched which don't have keyboards or mice, meaning login would be troublesome."
To support this, Quiconnect will be extending the functionality today available in Connector for laptops to include a Connector Mobile Edition primarily for wireless enabled handheld devices, with a release expected in the first half of 2009.