SEOUL, South Korea--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the industry association focused on driving the next generation Wi-Fi experience, today announced that many of the world’s largest operators and vendors have signed up to advanced trials of Next Generation Hotspots (NGH) which will give users easier access to a far greater number of public Wi-Fi access points around the world (see notes to editors for a full list of participants). The trials will take place in Q4 and employ the first generation of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint equipment which the Wi-Fi Alliance today announced it will start approving¹. The WBA expects the first NGH deployments to take place in H1 2013.
Next Generation Hotspots will use Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint equipment, thereby letting users gain access without the need for usernames and passwords, while also allowing operators to establish relationships with each other so their users can access a wide variety of hotspots in their own country and around the world. The advanced trials will build on the first phase of tests conducted earlier this year that used prototype equipment from a wide variety of different vendors to test automatic hotspot discovery and authentication across many different operators’ networks².
The new trials will repeat the basic phase one tests using the newly certified Wi-Fi equipment as well as verify more advanced operator billing and connectivity policies in addition to extensive authentication methods. The trials will test operator-to-operator billing procedures to ensure that they are compensated when carrying each other’s subscribers. They will test features that allow users to change their hotspot subscription package to ensure they’re receiving the best deal or, where they do not have automatic access through their operator, to simply set up a connection with the hotspot provider directly through a popup option.
The trials will vet operator connectivity policies for automatically choosing a hotspot when many are available. In order to ensure as many people as possible can access hotspots without entering usernames and passwords, the trials will test a variety of authentication methods, including SIM-based, for the growing number of smartphones, as well as non-SIM based, for tablets, laptops and legacy phones which cannot support SIM authentication. The methods to be tested are EAP-TLS, EAP-TTLS, EAP-SIM and EAP-AKA.
“Growing mobile data usage is driving a surge of operator interest in public Wi-Fi. Key to this is the development of a new generation of hotspots. Not only do they remove the need for cumbersome log-in procedures, they also support operator roaming agreements giving users broadband access wherever they are. By employing simple connectivity, open standards and global operator relationships, public Wi-Fi now has the same crucial ingredients that made cellular technologies such a massive success. Many of the world’s largest operators are now set to put the first standards-based hotspot equipment through its paces in the most extensive trials ever conducted later this year,” said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO, Wireless Broadband Alliance.
“We congratulate the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) as they initiate phase two of their Next-Generation Hotspot program,” said Edgar Figueroa, CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance. “By utilizing Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint™ equipment and devices in these trials, operators will be offered a solution that delivers secure and seamless Wi-Fi.”
Wi-Fi hotspots are set to undergo rapid growth with a November 2011 Informa report predicting a rise from 1.3 million in 2011 to 5.8 million by 2015, a 350% increase. This does not include ‘community hotspots’ where users share their own Wi-Fi access point with others, which add a further 4.5 million worldwide.
Notes to editors
WBA NGH Trial Project Participants included:
Aircel, AT&T, Boingo Wireless, BT, BskyB ( The Cloud), China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, DOCOMO InterTouch, Everything Everywhere, FON Wireless, Gowex, Indosat M2, HK CSL, KDDI, iBAHN, KT Corporation, Meteor Network, NTT DOCOMO, Oi Wi-Fi, Orange, PCCW Mobile, Portugal Telecom TMN, SK Telecom, Shaw Communications, Smart Communications, Softbank Mobile, StarHub, Swisscom, Talk Talk, TeliaSonera, Telefónica, TIM Brasil, Time Warner Cable, Tomizone, True Corp., Trustive& TTNET
Accuris Networks, Aicent, Aptilo Networks, Aruba Networks, BSG Clearing Solutions, Cisco Systems, Comfone AG, Connection Services, Devicescape, Ericsson, Green Packet, HP, iPass, Intel, Juniper, M800 Limited, MACH, Meru Networks Inc, O-zone, Ruckus Wireless, Spectrum Interactive, Syniverse Technologies, Skype Transaction Network Services & Xirrus Inc.
About the Wireless Broadband Alliance
Founded in 2003, the aim of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is to secure an outstanding user experience through the global deployment of next generation Wi-Fi. The WBA and its industry leading members are dedicated to delivering this quality experience through technology innovation, interoperability, and robust security.
Today, membership includes major fixed operators such as BT, Comcast and Time Warner Cable; seven of the top 10 mobile operator groups (by revenue) and leading technology companies such as Cisco, Google and Intel.
WBA member operators collectively serve more than 1 billion subscribers and operate more than 1 million hotspots globally. The WBA Board includes AT&T, BT, Boingo, Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, iPass, Intel Corporation, KT, NTT DOCOMO, Orange and True Internet. www.wballiance.com
¹ For more information on today’s Wi-Fi Alliance certification news please see http://www.wi-fi.org/media/newsroom
² For more information on the phase one trials in February please see http://www.wballiance.com/images/news/pdf/ngh_trial_results_press_release_vfinal.pdf