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Next Generation Hotspot Experience @ Beijing

By Lisa Garza, Cisco Service Provider Marketing, Mobility Solutions

In the blink of an eye, a Hotspot 2.0 industry milestone was achieved last week.  Cisco joined with China Mobile and 15 other operators to provide a Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) Experience to over 400 attendees at the WBA Wi-Fi Global Congress in Beijing.

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The NGH Experience included: Read More »

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The Next Generation of Wi-Fi Debuts in Beijing

I recently had the honor to speak at the Wi-Fi Global Congress in Beijing. As evident by the more than 400 people in attendance, the importance and relevance of Wi-Fi continues to grow.  The Wireless Broadband Alliance now has over 100 members, a doubling in less than 2 years.  The membership includes a mix of leading Wi-Fi, mobile, and broadband network operators; global service providers and media players; as well as technology providers and partners.

I took away six key messages from this exciting conference:

  1. Next Generation Hotspots is Alive and Well.  One of the most exciting things at the conference was the launch of the live NGH Experience with China Mobile as the host operator and Cisco as the network infrastructure provider.  Attendees with a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone 5 could experience the first ever opportunity to seamlessly and automatically connect to the venue Wi-Fi.  Participants also received valuable conference information and services seamlessly delivered to their mobile device through NGH.  This is just the beginning.  With 15 major carriers (and growing) signed up to deploy NGH, mobile users throughout the world will be able to experience the next generation of Wi-Fi early in 2014.
  2.  Wi-Fi Roaming is Becoming a Reality.  Several speakers described roaming as being where cellular roaming was 15 to 20 years ago.  However, with the successful launch and upcoming deployment of NGH, seamless roaming amongst carriers is now becoming a reality.  Indeed, the GSM Association recently approved a Wi-Fi Roaming Annex that will make it easy for mobile operators to support this.  As such, the WBA expects roaming to be fully automated across more than 80% of public Wi-Fi networks by 2018.
  3.  Wi-Fi is an Important Part of the Mobile Network.  The world’s largest mobile operator, Read More »

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Next Generation Hotspot Just a Device Away

As we prepare to help host the upcoming Wireless Broadband Alliance Wi-Fi Global Congress in our own backyard in San Francisco, I’ve found myself reflecting on how far we’ve come with advancing the standards around Next Generation Hotspot.

In June 2011, Read More »

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A Rainy Day in London Town

By Lisa Garza

It was raining in London last week during the LightReading event Strategic Opportunities in Service Provider Wi-Fi.  That might not sound unusual, but actually my cab driver said it had been a dry winter, and the rain was much needed for his garden.  That’s how I felt about the event – it felt like a lovely spring rain.

Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown first addressed the packed room by likening the early days of Wi-Fi to the Wild West.  With the advent of carrier-grade Wi-Fi, the integration of Wi-Fi into Mobile networks, and initiatives such as the Wireless Broadband Alliance Next Generation Hotspot Program, the west is slowly Read More »

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From Paris with Roaming 2.0 at the Wireless Broadband Alliance

Contributed By Lisa Garza, Cisco Service Provider Marketing, Mobility Solutions

Paris WBAOn the edge of Paris this week, a group of Wi-Fi experts gathered for a historic occasion - one they’ll be able to tell their grandchildren about.

It was the 19th Roundtable Conference of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).

The occasion was the launch of the Next Generation Hotspot trials.  These trials will set the stage for the future of Wi-Fi, establishing it as a robust, secure technology that will augment and complement 3G and 4G networks for years to come.

Next Generation Hotspot is based on the concept that Wi-Fi networks should be as safe and easy to access as cellular networks.  Some of the base specifications for network discovery (IEEE 802.11u), authentication (IEEE 802.1x), and security (IEEE 802.11i) were well underway.  The cellular example of using SIM cards for user identification and using roaming hubs for inter-carrier negotiation and billing were then applied and the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) specification for Hotspot 2.0 was a result.

The trials also represent a historic cooperation between the WBA, WFA, and GSMA.  The WFA will hold a series of test events that will allow vendors to test and certify against the specification, and the WBA will carry out the trials in operator networks.  Twenty-seven operators, vendors and roaming hubs have signed up for the trials. The trial results will be provided to the GSMA for harmonization with 3GPP standards.

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