Broadband Everywhere: Who didn’t see this coming?

th_art_Reuters-20080320-195132It was bound to happen. We surround ourselves with broadband at the office. We upgrade our computers at home with high speed Internet service. How, then, can we not expect to have broadband connectivity when we travel around the world for business? Is it any wonder there is a buzz surrounding this concept? Traditionally, corporations have relied on dial-based solutions to provide global access to the enterprise for their traveling users. However, the emergence of bandwidth intensive multimedia applications has end-users and enterprises alike clamoring for the availability of high-speed access while traveling. Secure, robust connectivity to corporate applications and resources are becoming a business requirement for mobile professionals in today’s faster-than-light environment. This fact holds true in all corners of the globe, be it London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tel Aviv or Walla Walla, Washington. A series of providers have emerged, looking to service this marketplace by deploying visitor-based broadband networks at locations where traveling business users frequently transit. These Internet “hotspots” include such locations as hotels, airports, and convention centers. While the emergence of these services is a positive, enterprises are left with many lingering concerns in their efforts to leverage this new capability for their end users. Concerns include how to enable an offering with global coverage; how to provide a common user experience across hotspots, service providers, and access technologies; how to seamlessly integrate the corporate VPN with the client software; how to manage multiple providers from a billing and operational perspective; and, lastly, how to leverage their corporate buying power to reduce their cost for the service. However, there is an answer?one that is gaining significant traction among multi-national companies like J.D. Edwards and SAP AG. More and more blue chip corporations are signing with third-party providers that aggregate multiple ISPs throughout the world to form a seamless global, high-speed network. By doing so, enterprises will be able to take advantage of a uniform dial-up and broadband roaming service package?one bill and one user experience for high?speed remote access in business destinations throughout the world. This will enable corporations to leverage their buying power with a single, global service provider. Corporate IT savings may be as much as 40-60% over traditional options, aking the offering “CFO-defensible.” It will also allow IT departments to deploy a single user interface for all types of remote access connectivity, whether remote users are using dial-up or broadband access to their corporate networks. This will make remote access services easier to use and therefore less expensive to support. But beware. Before signing with such a service, make sure the provider incorporates quality control and VPN integration functions to ensure reliability and security?essential when accessing corporate servers from the road. Make sure the service also works with all types of devices including laptops, PDAs and desktops as the mobile business traveler is becoming more adept in using multiple devices on the road. Is it surprising to anyone that corporate IT and finance executives are wrestling with mobile broadband connectivity issues? It wasn’t for us. Then again, we happen to know a thing or two about global remote access. About the author: Michael Mansouri is chairman and CEO of ‘Pass, Inc., a global remote access provider. iPass is headquartered in Redwood Shores, California. Michael Mansouri, chairman and CEO iPass, Inc. 2002-08-27