This is a guest post from Madhavi Ravanan, senior manager for business development at Aricent Group ,on how Hotspot 2.0 will revolutionise the WiFi experience for users.
So, what’s cooking at the Hotspot? Something exciting! It’s undergoing a makeover and the new avatars “Next Generation Hotspot” (NGH) and Hotspot 2.0 (HS 2.0) are just around the corner.
Some interesting facts:
- The November 2011 report from Informa Telecoms and Media predicts the market for public hotspots to be growing in leaps and bounds. From a little over 2 million public hotspots today across the globe, this number is set to reach 5.8 million by 2015.
- The WiFi Alliance (WFA) has certified infrastructure equipment and client devices from several vendors (including Ericsson-BelAir, Broadcom, Cisco, Intel, LG-Electronics, Marvell, MediaTek, Qualcomm Atheros, Ruckus, and Samsung) under its “WiFi Passpoint Certification” program. The Passpoint Certification validates compliance of equipment to the WiFi Alliance’s Hotspot 2.0 (HS 2.0) specification, apart from testing interoperability across vendor equipment.
- Wireless BroadBand Alliance (WBA) has carried out initial trials of the “Next Generation Hotspot” ( NGH) in early 2012, along with key network operators and Passpoint certified gears in the test bed. The NGH initiative is about getting the Hotspot Service Providers and Mobile Network Operators to interoperate. Advanced NGH trials are scheduled in Q4 of 2012 with a long list of 38 major global operators.
- WBA expects global NGH deployments to begin in the first half of 2013.
While the onus of certifying the WiFi gears for HS 2.0 is on the WFA, the WBA’s NGH is looking at the wider gamut of the entire ecosystem including the service providers and mobile network operators and facilitating the transition to Next Generation Hotspot.
Hotspot 2.0 and Next Generation Hotspot promises:
- Automated access for the users doing away with manual intervention that is needed in present day hotspots. Client devices will automatically discover, select and connect to Wi-Fi networks based on user preferences and network optimisation and will be automatically granted access to the network based on SIM card credentials, as in cellular networks today.
- Heightened security, similar to the level of security in the cellular network. Over-the-air transmissions will be encrypted using the latest-generation security technology (Wi-Fi Certified WPA2-Enterprise).
- Automatic roaming across cellular and WiFi networks for the user, without manual intervention.
- Carriers can offload some traffic to these Hotspots faster and ease the burden on their cellular networks. This improves user experience as well.
As the makeover party is drawing closer and the various players are gearing up for Passpoint Certifications, NGH trials, and deployments, Aricent is backing the entire eco-system of players with its various offerings in this space.
Aricent’s innovation services for the public WiFi and enterprise WLAN world include:
- Ready to deploy Hotspot 2.0 software framework.
- Expertise and a rich resource pool to strategise, architect, design, develop, integrate, validate, certify, and sustain WLAN/WiFi solutions including access points and controllers for enterprise WLANs and public WiFi Hotspots.
- Comprehensive software framework for access points and controllers with a strong roadmap
- In-house WiFi test infrastructure to offer total testing services. Available test infrastructure includes industry standard test sets and RF chambers, along with feature rich automation test suites and frameworks from leading vendors.
With the Broadband World Forum 2012 less than a month away there is still time to register your interest in the show taking place on the 16 – 18 October 2012 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam.