Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint™: A new program from the Wi-Fi Alliance® to enable seamless Wi-Fi® access in hotspots (2012)
Once found only in coffee shops and hotels, the public Wi-Fi hotspot has become ubiquitous around the world. Growth of Wi-Fi in public spaces is expected to continue at a very strong pace, with Informa Telecoms & Media predicting 5.8 million hotspots worldwide in 2015.
The explosive growth is driven by several factors:
• Ubiquity of Wi-Fi in mobile devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones.
• End-user appetite for Wi-Fi connectivity over 3G and 4G for mobile devices.
• Widening support by service providers of Wi-Fi hotspots as a means to offload traffic from congested networks and to improve the end-user experience.
The forthcoming Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint program is the latest initiative from the Wi-Fi Alliance to revolutionize the end-user experience in Wi-Fi hotspots. Moreover, it is a key enabler for operator data offload in public hotspots. The specification underlying Passpoint certification defines a number of features, which will be introduced over the next 12 months:
Features planned for mid-2012:
• Network discovery and selection: Devices identify and associate with Passpoint networks in the background, without any active intervention from the subscriber.
• Seamless network access: Authentication no longer requires a browser-based sign-on or the subscriber to enter a password. Devices are authenticated automatically, using Extensible Authentication Protocols (EAP) based on a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), a username and password, or certificate credentials.
• Secure authentication and connectivity: All connections are secured with WPA2™-Enterprise, which provides a level of security comparable to that of cellular networks.
Additional features planned for 2013:
• Immediate account provisioning: Streamlined process to establish a new user account at the point of access, driving a common provisioning methodology across vendors.
• Operator policy: Mechanisms to support operator-specific subscriber policies, including network selection policy.