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
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.