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Wi-Fi Alliance’s Passpoint initiative is about to get off the ground. According to the trade association, it will begin certifying network equipment and end user devices for Passpoint compliance next month. Announced in 2011, the Passpoint program is aimed at enabling seamless, hassle-free connectivity to Wi-Fi hotspots.
Backed by device makers, mobile operators and service providers, the Passpoint program is centered on making it easy for users to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots. How easy you ask? The whole process—from network discovery and selection to authentication—will be automatic as long as both the hotspot and end user device are Passpoint-certified.
“With Passpoint, devices automatically identify and join Wi-Fi networks, and users are not required to complete a cumbersome manual login process,” the Wi-Fi Alliance said in a press release Tuesday. Passpoint can authenticate users using multiple credentials types, including Subscriber Identity Module (SIM)–based authentication, username/password combinations and certificate credentials. Further, the whole authentication process does not require a browser, making it ideal for CE devices that lack them.
“Passpoint also automatically configures industry-standard WPA2 security protections without user intervention. Passpoint certification for network equipment and end user devices is expected to begin in June, and is based on the Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 Specification.”
Where service providers are concerned, the ability to use the same credentials for cellular and Wi-Fi authentication will allow them to easily offload traffic to Wi-Fi networks. That’s not all, though. Among a host of other benefits, it will let them provide seamless roaming access to each other’s subscribers.