Sputnik, the developer of a managed software and hardware solution for hotspot operators, is introducing an upgraded platform and new pricing schemes: Customers can now buy Sputnik APs that support 802.11g. Also, the AP now includes a four-port wired Ethernet switch so users can include wired LANs or third-party wireless access points in the same platform. Customers can then manage all the networks--wireless or wired--from a single software tool. The new platform also enables dynamic firewalling so customers can enable different security policies on each network. "Users could isolate different subnets so that the wired LAN is completely separate from the wireless," said Kathy Giori, director of product marketing for Sputnik. Those features could be useful for a venue that may want to separate a wired LAN, for example, only for employee access.
As part of the new products, customers can also begin offering pre-paid cards, coupons, or codes that allow access to the network.
Sputnik is also offering a new pricing plan. "We're not only adding new functionality, but we're doing what we promised which is to leverage the whole commodity wave of technology coming out of Asia-Pacific to ride down the cost curve to offer cheaper and more powerful solutions," said David LaDuke, CEO of Sputnik. The Sputnik Starter Kit, which includes two of the new APs plus the management software comes for $495. A single AP costs $185.
The new platform doesn't yet support 802.1X. "The hotspot customers haven't been beating us up about that but the tide is turning because T-Mobile is clearly making that happen," said LaDuke. T-Mobile said it is introducing support for 802.1X in its hotspots in a bid to attract business travelers.