Today marked an exciting milestone in the continuing convergence of Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) and cellular technologies as the Wireless Broadband Association (WBA) and the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) co-announced that the industry’s first HotSpot 2.0 (HS 2.0) trials are scheduled for later this summer and the HS2.0 certification test beds will be available in mid 2012. HS 2.0 is an industry initiative to develop standards-based interoperable Wi-Fi authentication and handoff. In a nutshell, this enables a seamless handoff between cellular and Wi-Fi networks that allows mobile handset users to roam between the two networks without the need for additional authentication — much as you experience roaming between cellular networks while using your cell phone.
Industry organizations and standards bodies working on the HS 2.0 initiative include the WFA, focused on interoperability; the WBA, the industry group organizing the field trials; and the Global System for Mobile Communications Alliance (GSMA) that ensures the HotSpot 2.0 spec is aligned with the 3GPP framework.
Cisco is a strong supporter of the HS 2.0 initiative and is participating in the upcoming trials with its SP Wi-Fi Carrier Solution. I will continue to provide updates as we move forward with this timely and critical initiative. In the meantime, take a look at this white paper, “The Future of Hotspots: Making Wi-Fi as Secure and Easy to Use as Cellular,” which explains the technology behind HotSpot 2.0.