By Telecom Lead Team: The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) announced that Next Generation Hotspots (NGH) has enjoyed successful trials with carriers including AT&T, BT, China Mobile, DOCOMO InterTouch, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, PCCW Mobile, Portugal Telecom, Smart Communications, Swisscom, TeliaSonera, and True Corp. using LG and Intel devices.
The next Generation Hotspots (NGH) helps in simplifying the Wi-Fi hotspot access. NGHs are designed to allow mobile devices to automatically detect and connect to them (i.e., no usernames or passwords) and feature security measures typical of mobile networks, such as end-to-end radio link encryption and SIM authentication.
It also allows mobile operators, who increasingly have their own or partner hotspot networks, to ‘offload’ many more users from their busy mobile broadband networks.
The new hotspots feature similar levels of security to the cellular network including end-to-end radio link encryption and SIM authentication.
The WBA said that the aim of the trials was to test the NGH requirements for network discovery and selection, security, automatic authentication in a production environment on, and between, different operators’ actual networks using equipment and devices from various vendors.
It also aimed to identify and recommend how best to implement automatic authentication and the measures needed to upgrade home networks to NGH.
The WBA expects the first NGH deployments to take place over the next 12 months and will be organizing trials of more advanced technology features in second half of 2012.
The trials also made the NGH service requirements, developed by the operator-led WBA, available to vendors who use the ‘HotSpot 2.0’ device standards from the vendor led Wi-Fi alliance.
The WBA will continue this effort during 2012, putting in place a new stage of the trials to pursue and test additional features of NGH, bringing to Wi-Fi a cellular like experience to customers.
Recently, the WBA predicted that the global public Wi-Fi hotspot numbers will grow from 1.3 million in 2011, to 5.8 million by 2015, a 350 percent increase.