Wireless aggregator Trustive has come up with a way for its customers to secure their Internet access even while using public Wi-Fi hotspots lacking such security.
The technology, marketed as Trustive Enhanced WiFi, builds on a technique some larger businesses already regularly use for public Wi-Fi access, namely opening an encrypted VPN tunnel to the Internet via a trusted server. The difference with Trustive's service is that it can be used by any customer, even those without the luxury of an IT department able to support such access.
Accessing the feature is said to be as simple as ticking a box on the Wi-Fi login page, or enabling the security while using the company's wireless client, MyHotspotter.
The innovation secures the most vulnerable portion of any public wireless experience, the jump between the laptop and the access point, a distance that is often yards at most, and does so, Trustive claims, without hitting performance. The service uses a Cisco-based technique for minimising SSL packet overhead.
Up until now, the secure portion of a link was purely access point to server through Trustive's servers.
"This Enhanced Wi-Fi security feature is available for all members of the Trustive community and can be used across Trustive's entire network of 90,000 WiFi hotspots. With no download quotas or hidden costs, Trustive customers are now able to stay connected whilst on the move, freely and with peace of mind," said the official release.
Trustive's business model remains in essence the same as it was when it launched - aggregating different networks of public Wi-Fi access points. The competitive advantage has been seen as being able to combine as many networks as possible under simple pricing structures, across as many countries as possible, and doing so without the service costing the earth.
The latest announcement suggests that security has entered the fray as a new differentiator.