Airport Now Offers Wireless

2006-01-06 – Gerald R. Ford International Airport announced it has added free wireless access throughout its passenger terminal. Wifi users will now be able to log online via laptop or handheld PDA anywhere in the facility, from the curb front to the airplane.

Although many airports nationwide charge travelers anywhere from $6-$10 to access wireless, The Kent County Department of Aeronautics, which operates and manages the airport, footed the approximately $67,000 bill for their network. They hope the free access will give users added convenience, efficiency and productivity and “is part of the Aeronautics Board’s ongoing focus on enhancing customer service,” said KCDA Marketing and Communications Manager Bruce Schedlbauer.

The wireless network went live December 16, and is powered by Rhode Island-based ICOA Airport Networks, which runs networks at approximately 25 other airports around the country, as well as marinas, RV resorts and campgrounds.

Along with providing consistent high-speed accessibility, network security was among the top concerns as the system was developed. “The Ford Airport Wi-Fi system is an enterprise-class WLAN, which utilizes a number of different security protocols, as well as supporting various client mechanisims – such as VPNs like iPass,” said Pam Brown, Vice President of Airport Development at ICOA.

Users should see network speeds ranging from at least 512k to full T1. The structure of the network offers consistent access throughout the terminal, eliminating the lost connections caused by movement through a series of hotspots. The ICOA network also supports both airline offices and workers in addition to the public travelers and users.

To log on, make sure to set your SSID to flyGRR. ICOA offers a free 24/7 help line (800.277.5828) for users who have difficulty logging on, and can also be reached via email at support@icoacorp.com.