Wi-Fi Alliance announces upgrades to Passpoint standard

Tim Skinner

October 9, 2014

2 Min Read
Wi-Fi Alliance announces upgrades to Passpoint standard
Wi-Fi Alliance claims to make public access easier.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced the upgrade of Passpoint, a certified programme to enable more sophisticated connectivity for mobile devices in wifi hotspots. The alliance claims the new, improved Passpoint will now deliver a more streamlined method of creating new user accounts and connecting wifi-only devices to public wifi hotspots.

The upgrade to Passpoint will feature WPA2 security for mobile devices in wifi hotspots and easier integration of non-cellular devices, such as laptops and wifi-only tablets. The enhanced security features will ensure credentials are safely exchanged between the user and the wifi operator. Operators will also be able to specify and prioritise network access for users to guarantee optimal user experience.

In recent years, retailers and hospitality venues have found their place alongside fixed and mobile operators in providing wifi access to customers. Passpoint is intended to facilitate automatic connectivity to a variety of wifi hotspots available to consumers.

451 Research believes Passpoint will become increasingly important to the wider consumer experience and business models for all wifi providers. “Passpoint delivers vital access and security technology for wifi providers of every type, while also easing the way for effective wifi roaming interconnect agreements,” said Ken Rehbehn, Principal Analyst. “The new features are important because they enable Passpoint’s value proposition by making it simple to connect millions of wifi-only devices to secure, trusted Passpoint venues.”

Edgar Figueroa, CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, believes the technology will enable businesses to reap the commercial benefits of having more users engage with them more easily. “What makes the new features exciting is that they empower businesses to realize the powerful commercial impact that wifi can offer by giving them the ability to engage with customers on a new platform in a secure and streamlined fashion,” he said.

Ruckus Wireless claims a ubiquitous wifi roaming experience is now a step closer. “With Passpoint equipment, the islands of wifi connectivity that surround us can now be woven together through roaming consortiums to form a seamless and secure network experience with near ubiquitous connectivity,” said Rob Mustarde, who is VP of Business Development. “With the newly-introduced features, consumers can easily obtain the credentials to connect across a roaming footprint.”

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, 68% of all respondents to a recent survey agreed that they would switch mobile service providers for a Passpoint-enabled Wi-Fi offering, and half of respondents agreed that they would be inclined to pay more for the service. Of course, statistics gleaned from a hypothetical situation and the reality can occasionally be starkly contrasted. The value proposition, however, is definitely there to see.

Passpoint was originally launched in 2012, and has secured the backing of global operators including Boingo, Orange and SK Telecom, with more than 20 additional global operators currently conducting trials in Wi-Fi roaming based on Passpoint.

About the Author(s)

Tim Skinner

Tim is the features editor at Telecoms.com, focusing on the latest activity within the telecoms and technology industries – delivering dry and irreverent yet informative news and analysis features.

Tim is also host of weekly podcast A Week In Wireless, where the editorial team from Telecoms.com and their industry mates get together every now and then and have a giggle about what’s going on in the industry.

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