The Wi-Fi Alliance has expanded its Passpoint program, which provides seamless connection and WPA2 security, to include a streamlined method to establish new user accounts and connect Wi-Fi-only devices.
The WiFi Alliance is a non-profit trade organization formed to provide interoperability between device and promote the benefits of WiFi. The new features in Passpoint are particularly valuable to mobile and fixed operators, and open opportunities for other sectors, says the organization.
“Wi-Fi-first” business models have provided a disruptive counterpoint to traditional operator services, and retailers are deploying Wi-Fi as a way to improve customer engagement, says The Alliance. Wi-Fi roaming agreements among service providers are emerging as an important complement to traditional cellular roaming.
“Enthusiasm for Passpoint from both mobile and fixed operators continues to mount, and the strategic value of Passpoint extends into new segments as well,” said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “What makes the new features exciting is that they empower businesses to realize the powerful commercial impact that Wi-Fi can offer by giving them the ability to engage with customers on a new platform in a secure and streamlined fashion.”
Passpoint was launched in 2012 and is based on Wi-Fi Alliance’s Hotspot 2.0 Technical Specification. Fixed and mobile operators, including Boingo, Orange, SK Telecom, and Time Warner Cable. More than 20 operators are now participating in Wi-Fi roaming trials based on Passpoint.
The Passpoint program expansion builds on its foundational authentication and security mechanisms, adding features that make Passpoint more versatile and scalable:
- Online sign-up and immediate account provisioning: Passpoint now enables a streamlined process to establish a new user account at the point of access.
- Secure registration: The process of establishing a new account or connecting a second device takes place securely.
- Operator policy: Passpoint now includes the capability for service providers to distribute their specific subscriber policies, such as which networks to join and in what order of preference.
The Passpoint certification program test suite includes support from Aruba Networks, Broadcom, Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, Qualcomm Atheros, and Ruckus Wireless.