10 Mar

Hotspot 2.0 inches its way into public Wi-Fi networks

By WiFiNovation

The Wi-Fi Alliance began certifying Hotspot 2.0 capable devices under its Passpoint program in the summer of 2012, and hotspot providers began installing NGH software into their access points last year, but none of them have actually offered the feature commercially. So far, we’ve only seen trials.

At Mobile World Congress last week, Cisco Systems and Accuris Networks worked with a boatload of global carriers — including AT&T, China Mobile and NTT Docomo — to launch a large-scale Hotspot 2.0 in the halls of the Fira Gran Via, allowing their customers to connect via Passpoint phones. The Wireless Broadband Alliance has conducted similar trials at other conferences. That’s all great, but when will people beyond telecom conference attendees actually be able to use this technology?

In the next three months, said Selina Lo, CEO of Ruckus Wireless, one of the world’s largest providers of outdoor hotspot gear. At MWC, Ruckus announced its first commercial deployment of Hotspot 2.0 with Orange in Warsaw’s Royal Gardens in Poland. That may just be one park, but it’s a foothold. The mobile industry has started sorting out the problems with Hotspot 2.0 and they’re getting ready to roll out the technology commercially, Lo said.

“In the next 90 days, you’ll start seeing it in a number of public networks,” Lo said.

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