Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint

Transforming the Wi-Fi® hotspot experience

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint launched in 2012 as an industry-wide solution to streamline network access in hotspots and eliminate the need for users to find and authenticate a network each time they connect. In Wi-Fi networks that do not support Passpoint, users must search for and choose a network, request the connection to the access point (AP) each time, and in many cases, must re-enter their authentication credentials. Passpoint automates that entire process, enabling a seamless connection between hotspot networks and mobile devices, all while delivering the highest WPA2 security. Passpoint is enabling a more cellular-like experience when connecting to Wi-Fi networks. 

Passpoint was developed in Wi-Fi Alliance® through partnerships between mobile device manufacturers, network equipment vendors, and operators. Passpoint reflects the depth and breadth of that collaboration as a great solution for end users, network operators, and device vendors.

Creating opportunity for operators

In addition to providing a reliable, secure, in-pocket connection experience in Wi-Fi hotspots, Passpoint is delivering value to service providers in the following ways:

  • Supports data offload with instant network detection, selection, and authentication
  • Enables new value streams through inter-carrier Wi-Fi roaming, reaching new devices and new venues for the existing subscriber base
  • Increases customer satisfaction and reduces churn
  • Offers best-in-class security for SIM and non-SIM devices alike

Passpoint is a foundational ingredient to Wi-Fi roaming standards currently taking shape across the world. Multi-operator trials on Passpoint-certified equipment, as part of the Next Generation Hotspot program, are taking place now. Wi-Fi Alliance is collaborating with various industry groups to ensure the building blocks are in place to create a truly global Wi-Fi roaming experience.

Unlocking more value from Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a strategic imperative in today’s mobile world, and is becoming increasingly crucial for mobile and fixed operators, as well as the retail and hospitality industry, as they invest in Wi-Fi to meet business challenges. In October 2014, new features were released that build on Passpoint’s foundation of security and seamless connection to make the technology even more valuable for service providers, while opening up new opportunities for other sectors. New features include:

  • Online sign-up and immediate account provisioning: Passpoint now enables a streamlined process to establish a new user account at the point of access. For service providers, this reduces barriers to account creation and usage. For users, this capability takes the complexity out of getting connected and enables in-pocket connection across a service provider’s network of hotspots. Learn more about Certificate Authority Vendors.
  • Secure registration: The process of establishing a new account or connecting a second device takes place securely. Devices are provisioned with the appropriate credentials and configuration for network access. Users can be confident they are connecting to their chosen provider’s valid network, and their credentials are exchanged securely.  
  • Operator policy: Passpoint now includes the capability for service providers to distribute their specific subscriber policies, such as which networks to join and in what order of preference. This policy support enables providers to deliver the best user experience on Wi-Fi, while still easily maintaining the business requirements of Wi-Fi roaming agreements.

The end-user market is poised to embrace seamless Wi-Fi offerings. Research recently conducted among smartphone and tablet users in the United States and United Kingdom on behalf of Wi-Fi Alliance found that Wi-Fi services enabled by Passpoint have the potential to foster customer loyalty and drive measurable business value for both service providers and retailers.

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Frequently Asked Questions
  • How does Passpoint support service provider branding and customer relationships?

    Passpoint-enabled mobile devices can “see behind” the network to choose networks based on a list of preferred (direct or partner) providers, specific services and/or the best performance characteristics. For service providers offering a managed experience, invisible authentication is a valuable element. For service providers where a click-through screen is essential for acceptance of terms and conditions or branding, Passpoint networks can support that configuration.

  • How do I communicate using the Passpoint trademark?

    The term “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint™” designates products that have been certified by Wi-Fi Alliance,and is the commercial name for the certification program. The underlying specification or technology is called “Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 Specification”. Only products which have completed and passed Wi-Fi certification to the Hotspot 2.0 test plan may use the Passpoint name. On second instance, you may refer to “Passpoint “products (dropping the term Wi-Fi CERTIFIED). There is no special logo or visual indicator for Passpoint.

  • How does Passpoint equipment support Wi-Fi roaming?

    Passpoint devices use industry-agreed uniform mechanisms for discovering and creating secured connections to hotspots. This allows a subscriber to experience seamless Wi-Fi connectivity to a hotspot anywhere in the world his provider covers through roaming agreements. Passpoint is specified as a requirement for the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s industry work on Wi-Fi roaming.

  • What standards does Passpoint draw on?

    Passpoint makes use of elements of IEEE 802.11u during discovery. The specification underlying Passpoint also leverages WPA2™-Enterprise security and new technology defined in Wi-Fi Alliance.

  • Who created the Passpoint program?

    Members of Wi-Fi Alliance created the program.  The group which developed Passpoint includes service providers, mobile operators, fixed line operators, and makers of mobile devices and infrastructure equipment.

  • What does Passpoint mean for end users?

    Users with certified mobile equipment can enjoy the benefits of streamlined network selection and streamlined, secure connectivity at hotspots with Passpoint equipment. Passpoint-enabled devices operate based on user preference.

  • Can existing equipment be upgraded for Passpoint?

    The hardware and software platform of a given device determines whether it can be upgraded in the field. Equipment that has previously undergone certification testing can be updated and resubmitted for Passpoint certification.

  • Can legacy clients join a network with Passpoint access points?

    Legacy mobile devices can connect to Passpoint access points configured for open system authentication, although they will not enjoy Passpoint features for network selection, automatic authentication or expanded security. A user connecting to an open network with a legacy mobile device will manually find the available networks and then select and connect to his preferred network.

    The access points used in hotspot and enterprise networks are often configured to support multiple SSIDs (networks) on the same equipment; a configuration that offers a Passpoint-certified network and a separate open network allows Passpoint mobile devices to enjoy the full benefits while supporting legacy clients.

  • Does Passpoint support voice over Wi-Fi?

    The scope of Passpoint testing is to ensure that the mechanisms for seamless discovery and creation of a secured link are implemented correctly. It is application-agnostic.

  • What features does Passpoint certification test?

    Passpoint certification testing ensures that devices perform network discovery, selection and provisioning of services the same way. Passpoint devices are also tested for implementation of WPA2-Enterprise security.

  • What types of equipment are tested for Passpoint?

    Infrastructure equipment (e.g. access points) as well as mobile and portable end points (e.g. smartphones, tablets, notebooks) have been certified. Passpoint is available on both SIM and non-SIM mobile devices.

  • What is the difference between Passpoint and Hotspot 2.0?

    Passpoint is the brand for the certification program operated by Wi-Fi Alliance. Devices that pass this certification testing can be referred to as “Passpoint devices”. Passpoint certification is based on the Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 Specification. This is the underlying technological specification developed by Wi-Fi Alliance members, and is copyrighted and owned by Wi-Fi Alliance.

  • Are Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products protected by security?

    Yes. All Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products are tested for the latest generation of Wi-Fi security: WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2). The only way to be sure that product meets these standards is to only purchase Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products.

  • How does Wi-Fi Alliance help ensure product compatibility and a good user experience for certified products?

    This is achieved through rigorous testing of Wi-Fi products that are based on the 802.11 standards. Consumers should always look for the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo to ensure the best user experience possible.