Sprint is expected to announce a remote access service based on Secure Sockets Layer technology supported by Aventail.The service will enable mobile customers with Internet access and Web browsers to securely access corporate servers.Customers can buy this service now from Aventail directly or they can buy SSL remote access appliances from any number of vendors and run their own remote access network. But for those looking for a managed service and who already buy from Sprint, it may be attractive. With other services mixed in, they might be able to get a good deal.The attraction of SSL remote access in general is that any machine with a Web browser can access the servers as long as the user presents valid authentication. This is seen as an alternative to IPSec remote access VPNs for many users who don't need network-layer access. The SSL technology eliminates the need to install, configure and maintain client software. It also enables users to access networks from non-corporate machines such as those at partners' sites or public kiosks.Having a service provider manage the service eliminates the need to configure, manage and maintain the SSL appliance. While the technology is simple for remote users once it is set up, customers who have experience with many SSL vendors say the work setting it up is not insignificant.In the case of the Sprint service, Aventail SSL servers sit between corporate sites and the Internet to proxy authenticated SSL sessions. Aventail supports similar services for other carriers including AT&T, Bell Canada, IBM Global Services, ANXeBusiness and Infonet.