Like the GRIC service reviewed elsewhere, iPass acts an intermediary/facilitator for internet service roaming. Unlike GRIC, which primarily serves consumers, iPass is more tailored for the enterprise.
Today, the service supports internet access through nearly 20,000 locations in approximately 150 countries worldwide. Access topologies include dialup, ISDN, Ethernet broadband, Wi-Fi hotspots and 2.5G wireless data. While a sizeable minority of ISPs around the world support their subscribers with iPass facilities, most of its subscribers are companies.
The iPassConnect service interface - available for a variety of platforms - allows users to access the iPass network with their ID and password. However, there is currently no support for Linux.
The most recent version of this software includes innovative features for users of Wi-Fi hotspots, such as automatically detecting iPass hotspots and auto-configuring the users' wireless hardware to work with them. It also conforms to the GIS standard that iPass pioneered to secure authentication over the wireless link.
For added security, iPass is also rolling out a new technology called iSEEL (iPass secure end-to-end encrypted login) that encrypts passwords at the client and remain encrypted as they transit the internet to iPass network and onto the enterprise for authentication.
Also, the iPass interface enforces use of a VPN, personal firewall and anti-virus before allowing the user to access the enterprise. This helps to ensure that remote users are following corporate policies.
The software is also explicitly designed to work with VPN applications from several vendors, notably Certicom (movianVPN); Check Point (SecuRemote); Cisco (VPN 3000 Series); Aventail (Connect),Nortel (Contivity Extranet) and Microsoft (Windows NT server with PPTP).
As with most internet dialers, the client software also allows users access to secure overlay functions, such as SSH and SSL, as well as VPN and other tunnelling facilities.
The client software, now into version 3.0, is well designed and includes a number of audit functions, most notably a dialed history list which cannot be deleted, as standard.
Easy to install with features for Wi-Fi hotspots. Worldwide coverage and telephone support. Good integration with VPN and allied security client software.
A minority of ISPs support their subscribers with iPass facilities.
If you travel internationally and use/require secure communications, iPass is well worth considering.