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Boingo Expands Hotspot 2.0 Trial to 23 Airports

Sarah Thomas
3/26/2014
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SAN ANTONIO -- CCA Global Expo -- Boingo added two airports to its Hotspot 2.0 trial, bringing the total to 23. But wireless operators are still approaching the authentication technology with varying degrees of interest.

Boingo Wireless Inc. CTO Derek Peterson announced the Hotspot 2.0 expansion at a Fierce Wireless breakfast on Wednesday morning, noting that those who download a profile to their Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) Mac or iPhone will automatically connect to a network when they enter one of the participating airports. (See Boingo Expands Hotspot 2.0 to 21 Airports and Hotspot 2.0 Makes Slow & Steady Progress.)

Boingo has been an early proponent of Hotspot 2.0, which automatically connects users to carrier-grade WiFi networks, but his fellow panelists are taking a more cautious approach to the two-year old standard. (See Boingo: Carrier WiFi Offload Still a Year Out and WiFi Passpoint: Ready for Prime Time.)

Scratch Wireless CEO Alan Berrey, for one, said the jury is still out on Hotspot 2.0 -- or at least the operators' role in it. He is looking to cable operators for guidance more so than mobile operators, as they've deployed fiber and "have a vested interest in keeping their customers on their network" he said. Cable WiFi is taking off and he believes it will be a major force with one million access points planned this year. (See Scratch Wireless Eyes International Expansion and Momentum Mounts for Cable WiFi.)

"If I can get a device, like a tablet, and network and connect it to my home service, then I'm less interested in a standardized 2.0," he said.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) CTO Stephen Bye was more reticent when it came to Sprint's involvement in the standard. "We'll watch it; we're not driving it," he said, noting that any new technology has the same adoption curve. "But we'll take advantage of it when it's there." (See Stephen Bye: Sprint's Network Visionary.)

Even if operators don't throw their support behind Hotspot 2.0, device makers already have. Peterson pointed out that they can just as easily put a profile in their handsets that connects to WiFi on its own, cutting the operators out of the equation. (See iOS 7: The Next-Gen Hotspot Game Changer .)

"Inevitably, it's going to happen," Peterson said of Hotspot 2.0. "People want to get connected. The user experience will drive it."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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MikeP688
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MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/10/2014 | 2:27:29 AM
Brief Thoughts
Glad to see the "somewhat" streamlining at hand.  For those who are existing Boingo subscribers, it is probably great news.   I will go out on a limb though and make a prediction that our friends @ Google will probably look at how to crush our friends @ Boingo.  
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/9/2014 | 7:08:47 PM
Re: Which airports?
On my trip to Las Vegas for Interop last week, I noticed that carriers are really stripping down the login requirements for their public Wi-Fi. The Mandalay Bay just let you log in without authenticating, from the hotel room at least. That's nice. No business traveler has ever said, at the end of a long day of meetings, "At last I am back in my hotel room! Now to catch up on email! Oh, wait, logging in to the network? That's fine too."

Other places had one-tap authentication. Not as good as zero taps, but still nice. 
Sarah Thomas
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Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
4/9/2014 | 11:04:29 AM
Re: Which airports?
If you're not a Boingo subscriber, you probably wouldn't. But if you already are, it'd automatically put you on that network, so you wouldn't have to sign in to the free OC WiFi.
Sarah Thomas
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Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
4/9/2014 | 11:02:59 AM
Re: Boingo Only So-So
I think you're thinking of traditional pay Boingo. The initial Hotspot 2.0 trials were just for carriers and device makers, but now it's also open to Boingo subscribers, so you have to be paying for the service anyway. H2 also doesn't affect the quality of the connection, just your ability to get on it.
MikeP688
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MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/9/2014 | 4:06:12 AM
Re: Which airports?
My Local Airport, Orange County-John Wayne, is also free.     Why would I want to engage with Boingo if I have a hot spot myself and have to take the extra step to try and get a profile?  It appears that they have some work to still do.

 

 
Phil_Britt
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Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2014 | 9:13:02 AM
Boingo Only So-So
The Boingo expansion isn't all that helpful for wireless users, at least in my experience.

I used it once and felt that it wasn't worth the charge because it was slow and I had to reconnect more than once. If you're stuck at an airport for a couple of hours or so, it might be worth the charge. Otherwise, it might be better to relax with a snack or drink rahter than get frustrated with an iffy connection for an hour.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/26/2014 | 4:11:27 PM
Re: Which airports?
Sarah - San Diego airport is not on the list. But we have free WiFi at the airport anyway. Go, us. 

My wild guess based on the press release you linked to is that Boingo subscribers will get an email or some other notification with a link directing them where to download a new profile. Once that's done, the login would be hands-free for the user -- just switch on the device and be connected to WiFi. 

Hotspot 2.0 is exciting technology for SPs looking to save network traffic and consumers looking to save on their monthly data bills -- assuming the net cost of the monthly WiFi plan is less than data overages. 
Sarah Thomas
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Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/26/2014 | 1:51:58 PM
CORRECTION
Boingo has actually added two new airports, Boston Logan International Airport and Billings Airport, bringing its total to 23. It didn't add 23 as the post originally stated, but it's been updated now.
Sarah Thomas
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Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/26/2014 | 1:29:51 PM
Re: Which airports?
The 2 additional airports are Boston Logan International Airport and Billings Airport, and here's the original 21: http://www.boingo.com/pr/articles/?a=2014-02-24-boingo-launches-hotspot-2.0-at-21-airports-in-us&id=1201&date=2014-02-24

The user would have to download a profile on to their phone in order for the phone to automatically connect. They did a trial at MWC and it wasn't seamless. You first had to forget any other networks you may have been on. But, that won't be an issue when its preloaded on handsets. 
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/26/2014 | 12:53:32 PM
Which airports?
Is there a list of airports where the service is available?

How would the mechanics of this work from the end-user perspective? I'm guessing the user signs up in advance once, then connects manually once, and after that just connects automatically as they would for any recognized Wi-Fi network. Or am I missing something? Would you still have to wrestle with downloading apps, or dealing with browser-based authentication screens?
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