IPass offers VPN testing

Computer World –

IPass Inc. this week launched an effort to try to take some of the hassles and uncertainties out of setting up a virtual private network (VPN) for remote users around the world.

The Mountain View, Calif., company yesterday announced a service for testing and configuring VPN clients to make sure the VPN will actually work when remote users fire up their notebook PCs.

The service, which will be free of charge and works with several major VPN suppliers, lets information technology managers test various VPN software packages and receive configuration help from iPass.

"This is actually a really big deal because a lot users are turned off to VPN by the need to test VPN solutions," said VPN analyst Eric Zines at Telechoice Inc. in Boston.

IPass is a remote access network service provider trying to capitalize on the exploding VPN market. It offers 4,000 points of presence around the world, allowing remote users to connect to the Internet with a cheap local call.

That ability has given customers reliable, inexpensive connections in many cities in 135 countries, the company said. Many customers have run VPNs over the service, but newcomers often have trouble setting it up -- hence, the testing service, iPass officials said.

APV Technology Partners, an investment banking company in Menlo Park, Calif., recently set up a VPN service through iPass for $2,000 so that its 24 remote users can access confidential financial data, said Pete Bodine, an APV partner.

APV became an iPass customer two years ago to provide cheap, reliable connections for remote users in Asian countries. "We struggled for years using [another Internet provider], which cost a fortune and wasn't reliable," Bodine said.

Intershop Communications Inc. in San Francisco calculated a 75% savings using iPass remote access instead of conventional 800 dial-up service, said Michael Logvinov, senior systems analyst at the electronic-commerce software company.

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