After watching a few videos and reading a few articles on this new concept, I think I have an idea of what all the ruckus is about.
To understand how Hotspot 2.0 will work, it helps to understand how the roaming carrier agreements for cellular providers works. You have a cellphone plan. This is through some provider. When you fly to another country and you land the first thing you do is turn your cellphone on. Your phone recognizes it is in a new place and through your simcard user authentication, you are connected to an alternative network that makes your phone work. That network you are on is in an agreement with your home based provider. Your phone works. You’re happy.
Hotspot 2.0 takes this same concept and applies it to WiFi. So you sign up one time Hotspot 2.0, pay “x” amount for the service, and BAM! global WiFi service that is checked by a certificate downloaded to your mobile device.
For example: lets say instead of traveling with a phone, you are traveling with an Ipad. Ipads don’t have simcards. The concept of Hotspot 2.0 is you land in another country, you turn on your Ipad (which you have registered with the Hotspot 2.0 service) and you are seamlessly connected to the WiFi network through back-end agreements with other WiFi providers. Hotspot 2.0 is the key. It’s a protocol. It enables mobile devices to seamlessly connect to WiFi. It basically gets rid of the annoying process of:
- remembering WiFi passwords
- searching for networks that are not password protected
- relogging into a network with a room number/ 16 code password
- having to open up a browser to authenticate a connection
Here is another explanation with the end-user/back end process.
Lets say you are from “A” and you travel “B”: You turn on your mobile device and Hotspot 2.0 scans all nearby APs. Hotspot 2.0 capable Aps respond to your mobile device and your device waits for a list of roaming partners. The Aps responds to your device and your device selects an Aps in the “B” network that has a roaming arrangement with your “A” provider. Your device associates with the Ap and the aunthetication process begins. The authentication is forwarded to the AAA in “B” network and then it will proxy this authentication request to to the AAA of “A” . The AAA of “A” confirms the authentication, sends this to the AAA in “B”, and then they grants WiFi access to your device.
802.11u enables mobile devices to securely and automatically connect to networks.
Another very key part to why Hotspot 2.0 is going to be HUGE is because it offsets data coverage for cellular operators. With the increase in smartphone devices such as an Iphone or an Android, many of these carriers’ networks are becoming very congested with traffic. Hotspot 2.0 is an excellent resource to offset some of this traffic.
WFA will determine technological side.
WBA will determine the operational side.
Things I am still trying to understand:
Interoperability of the Hotspot 2.0: is the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together.
Roaming relationships between two public WiFi operators: Airport to a Carrier, Shopping mall to a Carrier, Shopping mall to a Google, Shopping mall to an Apple etc.
Ultimately, Hotspot 2.0 wants to become as secure and automatic as cellular. The user benefits because of seamless connection that overhauls the manual WiFi connection procedure. The mobile carriers benefit because they can offset traffic and increase their network efficiency.
THE REAL WIN ABOUT ALL OF THIS is in the enterprise. Oh will they be able monetize this system. Solve enterprise problem: Exhibit A: I am company “X” and I am installing an amazing High Capacity, High Cost, Smart WLAN system ! It cost this “y” to install and “z’ annually… but how will I pay for this? Earn royalties on wholesaling existing LAN capacity to operators. POW! Turn your WLAN system into a residuals bank. BAM! Not a bad investment.
Similiarly, Public venues such as a school, a mall, anywhere that are expected to provide access to efficient and effective WiFi should see Hotspot 2.0 as an opportunity to not only create a robust mobile experience but to cover the cost of the operating such a system!
THis is where the money is at! Solving B2B problems is what gives you leverage. The tech side is covered. The business side of showing the enterprise what they really are investing in… that’s work for young entrepreneurs with global vision and international connections.