Smooth roaming from cell/mobile to Wi-Fi networks is finally seeing the light of day, with deployments at 21 U.S. airports and at two smaller sites in Europe debuting two weeks ago (late February 2014).
Wi-Fi networks at some of America’s biggest airports, in a park in Warsaw and at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona are using Hotspot 2.0, a set of technologies that vendors and service providers around the world have pursued for more than two years. The specification lets users get onto Wi-Fi as easily as they roam onto cellular networks, eliminating the need to choose a network, log in or give a password.
While making consumers’ lives easier, Hotspot 2.0 could also help mobile operators reduce data demand from their expensive licensed frequencies. To make it work; service providers have to both upgrade their network infrastructure and engineer business deals with partners.
Boingo Wireless announced that its subscribers with Apple iOS 7 devices will be able to join 21 airport Wi-Fi networks automatically and free of charge. The list of facilities is impressive, including Los Angeles International Airport, O’Hare International in Chicago, and the three major airports serving New York City: JFK, La Guardia and Newark.
To activate Hotspot 2.0 on your device(s), Boingo customers just need to download a profile from Boingo for Passpoint, the client component of the technology. Using that profile, the airport networks can automatically authenticate users and log them in. Hotspot 2.0 can hand off the device’s connection from any cellular network to Wi-Fi without any action by the user. The Wi-Fi networks are encrypted using standard WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) technology. Boingo plans to expand the service to Android devices in the near future. Boingo, Ruckuss Wireless and others are currently looking at various ways to penetrate the market (read more here)
Growing mobile data demand and technological advances have combined to spur growth in Carrier Wi-Fi this year. Carrier Wi-Fi access point shipments will reach 9.7 million units in 2018, according to a new report from ABI Research.
To conclude with increasing appetite of consumers for bandwith and ease of accessibility and the rise of interconnectivity (Internet of Things) the golden age of WIFI Passpoint aka HotSpot 2.0 has arrived.