Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Wi-Fi Alliance enables operators to test Wi-Fi roaming

Passpoint certification programme lays groundwork

Article comments

The Wi-Fi Alliance has begun certifying products that simplify access to hotspots and roaming between different mobile service operators; providers and equipment vendors are expected to test these products in the fourth quarter, the Wireless Broadband Alliance said on Tuesday.

Mobile operators see Wi-Fi as a way to offload traffic from their networks to handle growing data volumes.

While Wi-Fi is already used by operators all over the world, the work currently underway aims to take the use of the technology to the next level. Users will be able to authenticate with a SIM card and move between mobile networks and Wi-Fi hotspots from different providers both at home and abroad.

Leading the charge is the Wi-Fi Alliance. On Tuesday, the organisation announced it had started certifying the underlying products as part of the organisation's Passpoint program, which is based on technology defined in its Hotspot 2.0 specification.

The certification program is a major milestone for Wi-Fi technology, because there is now finally a single industry-wide solution for seamless access to Wi-Fi-based mobile broadband, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Certified mobile devices can automatically discover and connect to Wi-Fi networks powered by access points that have also been approved.

The first products to be certified include access points, controllers and clients from BelAir Networks, which is owned by Ericsson, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, Qualcomm and Ruckus Wireless.

Next, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) along with a number of operators will conduct trials during the fourth quarter to see if they work as intended.

A first set of trials were organised earlier this year, and the first commercial services are expected to be launched during the first half of next year, according to the WBA.

The second round of tests will delve into more complicated features, including operator-to-operator billing procedures when users are roaming and what Wi-Fi network to choose if more than one is available, according to Tiago Rodrigues, program director at WBA.

"Different metrics can be used [when the device chooses which network to connect to]. Probably the most common one will be the quality of the bandwidth. The devices will have the intelligence to make an initial assessment to understand which hotspot can offer the best service," said Rodrigues.

The technology to make such an assessment is still under development, and the first prototype clients that can perform intelligent network selection will be used during the trial, according to Rodrigues.

Most of the operators are expected to test SIM-based authentication methods, but there will also be interoperability tests of other methods based on EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) for devices such as cameras and tablets that don't have SIM cards, Rodrigues said.

There are several goals with the Q4 trial. They will allow operators to get more experience with the technology as they prepare to launch commercial services, and also find things that need to be improved and fine-tuned by organisations such as the Wi-Fi Alliance and GSM Association, according to Rodrigues.

Thirty-seven operators and 24 vendors will take part in the trial, according to the WBA. The first group includes AT&T, China Mobile, Orange and Time Warner Cable while the vendors list includes companies such as Cisco Systems, Ericsson and Intel.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *