AUSTIN, Texas, June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wi-Fi® industry has delivered a major milestone in the technology's evolution as an operator-grade network. The Wi-Fi Alliance® is now testing mobile devices and infrastructure equipment for its Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint™ program. Passpoint mobile devices can automatically discover and connect to Wi-Fi networks powered by Passpoint-certified access points, delivering the true mobile broadband experience that users want.
The specification behind Passpoint was defined by service provider and equipment maker members of the Wi-Fi Alliance to address critical business needs for mobile data, streamlined access and subscriber loyalty. As mobile users continue to increase their use of data-intensive applications, Passpoint eases service provider data traffic offload to Wi-Fi networks.
In addition to making it easy for end users to connect, hotspots equipped with Passpoint-certified equipment automatically enable enterprise-grade WPA2™ security. The Passpoint certification program is based on technology defined in the Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 Specification.
"Product manufacturers partnered with service providers to develop the Passpoint program in the Wi-Fi Alliance," said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. "Our organization has become a key collaboration forum driving Wi-Fi's evolution in support of service providers."
The launch of the certification program means that there is finally a single industry-wide solution for seamless access to Wi-Fi mobile broadband, and providers can leverage Passpoint as a foundation to rapidly expand Wi-Fi roaming agreements. With multi-provider Wi-Fi roaming, subscribers can enjoy seamless connectivity in even more hotspots than those provided by their own service.
Wi-Fi Alliance recently conducted polling of smartphone and tablet users in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Japan, China, and Korea to measure interest in easy-to-use mobile Wi-Fi. The results reflect strong user readiness to embrace Passpoint service offerings from providers among subscribers in each country. Among the findings:
- Wi-Fi drives usage: On average, 74 percent of respondents stated they would use "a little" or "a lot" more data if they had unlimited data usage via easy-to-use Wi-Fi hotspots
- Most would switch: On average, 77 percent of respondents also stated they would be likely to switch service providers, either immediately or at contract end, in order to access a Passpoint-like Wi-Fi offering, with 65 percent indicating a willingness to pay more per month for such an offering
- Passpoint drives loyalty: Conversely, an average of 87 percent of respondents said they would definitely/probably stay with their current provider if a Passpoint-like offering were included in their plan
The first products to be designated Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint, and which form the test suite for the certification program, are:
- BelAir 20E
- Broadcom Dualband 11n WiFi and Dual Band 802.11n Access Point
- Cisco CT2500 Series WLAN Controller and LAP1260 Series Access Point
- Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6230
- Marvell Plug – 88W8787 802.11 a/b/g/n Reference Design
- MediaTek Hotspot 2.0 Client V1
- Qualcomm Atheros Dual-Band XSPAN™ 3-Stream 802.11n Access Point and Dual-Band XSPAN 2-stream 802.11n WLAN Adapter
- Ruckus Wireless ZoneFlex 7363 and ZoneDirector 1100
More information, including a full report on the results of user polling in six countries, a list of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint products, the Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 technical specification, white paper, FAQ, and more is available at www.wi-fi.org/passpoint.
Broad industry support for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint
Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint was developed by the largest-ever working group to be formed in Wi-Fi Alliance, and the program is supported by key participants across the mobile Wi-Fi ecosystem.
"Our customers, partners and Airheads community see Passpoint as a significant step forward in delivering secure, seamless connectivity for hotspot users," said Keerti Melkote, co-founder and CTO of Aruba Networks. "We see Passpoint as the next big inflection point in the utilization of Wi-Fi networks worldwide and we are pleased to have collaborated on its development."
"Passpoint is a key enabler for Wi-Fi and mobile operators globally to deliver to users a seamless and secure service, particularly when roaming between 3G and Wi-Fi and between Wi-Fi networks," said Chris Bruce, Chair of the Wireless Broadband Alliance and Director, Business Development, BT Wi-Fi.
"By enabling operators to automate Wi-Fi hotspot connections, Passpoint has the potential to transform the role of Wi-Fi in operator strategies," said Clint Brown, Associate Director, Broadcom. "The industry has taken an important step forward with the launch of Passpoint."
"Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint enables Service Providers to give their mobile-internet customers a Wi-Fi experience on par with that of cellular in terms of ease-of-use, authentication, security and roaming. It also provides the basis for a whole new mobile experience with added value features in a range of venues, including in the enterprise, retail and hospitality," said Bob Friday, CTO of Cisco. "Cisco is very pleased to have contributed to the Hotspot 2.0 specification and support for the Wi-Fi Alliance's Passpoint certification program."
"The availability of certified Passpoint equipment will give service providers an opportunity to improve the Wi-Fi discovery and connection experience for their customers and will help mobile network operators offload data traffic to Wi-Fi in a seamless, secure, and scalable manner," said Tom Nagel, Senior Vice President at Comcast. "We are pleased to have contributed to this new standard."
"Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint certification is an important step toward expanding the role of Wi-Fi in operator networks," said Vish Nandlall, CTO and Head of Marketing and Strategy for Ericsson North American operations. "We understand what it takes to make Wi-Fi work for carriers and we support the efforts of the Wi-Fi Alliance to help the industry move in that direction."
"The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint program will have a significant contribution to improving user experience by automating secure hotspot connections," said Rida Zouaoui, Head of Access Networks Standardization of France Telecom-Orange. "We have been an active contributor during the development of this certification and believe the technology will provide reliable, user-friendly services - especially when roaming."
"Our customers see Passpoint as a valuable addition to the core feature set of hotspot infrastructure," said Dr. Wen Tong, wireless CTO, Huawei N.A. "We are pleased to endorse the development of this certification program."
"The Wi-Fi Alliance's Passpoint program creates a truly global wireless network, an essential next step for the telecom industry, allowing consumers to automatically connect to local Wi-Fi Hotspots anywhere in the world," said Bart Giordano, director of wireless marketing at Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. "By eliminating the cumbersome process of entering individual network credentials and payment information, this program streamlines the user experience in accessing service provider Hotspots and delivers a frictionless roaming experience similar to cellular networks. Marvell has implemented Passpoint into our wireless solutions and we are honored to be selected for participation in the Passpoint testbed program. We look forward to continuing our work with the Wi-Fi Alliance to bring an always on, always connected wireless experience to end users leveraging geographically dispersed Wi-Fi Hotspot networks around the world."
"We congratulate the members of the Wi-Fi Alliance on the culmination of the Passpoint program," said SR Tsai, General Manager of Wireless Connectivity & Networking Business Unit at MediaTek. "It will transform consumer experience of Wi-Fi in hotspots."
"Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint will transform the mobile device user experience in Wi-Fi hotspots," said Shinichi Shoji, senior vice president of NEC Platform Business Unit. "It will ignite the user scene and develop it for an individual's, carrier's and company's mobile device practical use."
"We celebrate the launch of the Passpoint certification program," said Yuki Sakuyama, General Manager of NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories. "This technology takes Wi-Fi forward a significant step in utility of wireless LAN for fixed-line and mobile carriers and public wireless LAN providers."
"We believe that Passpoint will provide significant advantages across the mobile ecosystem—from mobile operators and infrastructure providers who must make connectivity easier, to consumers who want the always-on, always-connected mobile experience," said Dan Rabinovitsj, senior vice president and general manager, networking business unit, Qualcomm Atheros. "At Qualcomm Atheros, we are committed to enabling the Hotspot 2.0 technology on both ends of the link, in our mobile Wi-Fi and networking solutions. As such, we are pleased to have participated in the development of the Hotspot 2.0 technology and to provide mobile and networking products in the inaugural Passpoint certification testbed."
"Passpoint devices will transform the user experience with hotspots, making it much simpler to securely connect to hotspots around the world," said Andrew Bocking, Senior Vice President Product Software Management at Research In Motion. "RIM has supported this initiative from its inception, and we look forward to rolling out Passpoint-certified BlackBerry devices to our customers."
"Passpoint addresses a crucial need for mobile operators - a seamless and automatic discovery and connection at Wi-Fi hotspots," said Steve Martin, VP of Engineering, Ruckus Wireless, Inc. "We are pleased to have contributed to its development."
"We work extremely closely with the Wi-Fi Alliance and welcome the availability of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint equipment which will simplify Wi-Fi hotspot access," said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO, Wireless Broadband Alliance. "We are happy to announce that major telcos and vendors are participating in our expanded Next Generation Hotspot trials that aim to actively support service providers in deploying seamless offload and end-to-end interoperability using commercially-ready Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint equipment and to establish global best practises for the community of operators."
About the Wi-Fi Alliance®
The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global non-profit industry association of hundreds of leading companies devoted to seamless connectivity. With technology development, market building, and regulatory programs, the Wi-Fi Alliance has enabled widespread adoption of Wi-Fi worldwide.
The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ program was launched in March 2000. It provides a widely-recognized designation of interoperability and quality and it helps to ensure that Wi-Fi-enabled products deliver the best user experience. The Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 14,000 product certifications, encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and established markets.
Wi-Fi®, Wi-Fi Alliance®, WMM®, Wi-Fi Protected Access® (WPA), the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo, the Wi-Fi logo, the Wi-Fi ZONE logo and the Wi-Fi Protected Setup logo are registered trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™, Wi-Fi Direct™, Wi-Fi Protected Setup™, Wi-Fi Multimedia™, WPA2™, Passpoint™, Miracast™ and the Wi-Fi Alliance logo are trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance.
The Wi-Fi Alliance Passpoint Surveys in China, UK, France, Japan and Korea were conducted by StrategyOne among 500 smartphone and tablet owners ages 18 and older in each country, in May 2012. The Wi-Fi Alliance Passpoint Survey in the United States was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,001 U.S. smartphone and tablet owners ages 18 and older, between April 16th and April 23rd, 2012. All polls were conducted using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of each country's smartphone and tablet owners ages 18 and older.
Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in the China, UK, France, Japan and Korea study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.38 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. For the interviews conducted in the U.S. study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
SOURCE Wi-Fi Alliance