Light Reading

Hotspot 2.0 Makes Slow & Steady Progress

Sarah Thomas
2/27/2014
50%
50%

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- The hype around Hotspot 2.0 is giving way to slow and steady progress from the operators with a practical focus on policy.

That was the general perception of the two-year-old standard, which automatically connects mobile users to carrier WiFi networks, at this week's MWC in Barcelona. To work seamlessly, the standard requires support in the handset, at the access point, and from mobile operators. So far, the Wi-Fi Alliance has certified more than 75 devices that support the standard, but the operators are just now starting to come around. (See WiFi Passpoint: Ready for Prime Time and AT&T: Hotspot 2.0 Integral to Multimode Small Cells.)

"I would say that Hotspot 2.0 is making steady gains but not outrageous gains," Devicescape Software Inc. CEO Dave Fraser told Light Reading at the show. "It's almost been overhyped as the silver bullet for capacity and service issues, but Hotspot 2.0 or any carrier WiFi can be expensive and time consuming."

For consumers, Hotspot 2.0 is important because of the automatic authentication and the potential for lower bills, but its scope remains pretty limited. Fraser said it does nothing to improve the quality of your WiFi, and it won't seek out noncarrier networks unless they are roaming partners of the carrier. (See Carrier WiFi: The Handoff Tradeoff.)

"The whole quality of experience area is still ground for improvement," he said. "Hotspot 2.0 only goes 10% of the way there. It doesn't say you're too far from the network or what the servers are willing to do."

However, the operators are working on that, as well. For them, the appeal of Hotspot 2.0 is increased use of WiFi, alleviating network congestion, and the ability to choose when to hand off based on network conditions, speed, location, and billing preferences.

At least, that's the goal, and the industry is working now on the policy piece, according to Matthew MacPherson, director of technical marketing Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). At this week's show, Cisco, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and Accuris Networks plc trialed the technology, but using it required forgetting any other previously used WiFi network. It was far from automatic.

MacPherson said this won't be an issue when it's provisioned out the box, which will be the case going forward. Hotspot 2.0 can be pushed to new devices via a software update, as was the case with Apple's iOS 7 update, and it's being included in most future Android phones. (See iOS 7: The Next-Gen Hotspot Game Changer .)

Another thing helping to move the technology forward is the fact that Boingo Wireless Inc. has expanded its Hotspot 2.0 carrier and device maker trial, which started at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, to 21 airports across the country. Derek Peterson, Boingo's senior vice president of engineering, told us in a preshow interview that all the carriers are talking about enacting Hotspot 2.0 today, but roaming agreements are still necessary and still must be forged. Boingo, which acts as a hub for more than 140 operators' hotspots, has several such contracts in the works. (See Boingo Expands Hotspot 2.0 to 21 Airports, WiFi 2.0: Roaming Holds the Key, and WiFi Roaming: The Technical Considerations.)

"The technology might be new, the approach is new, but the business is the same," Peterson said.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(24)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
9/25/2014 | 11:01:27 PM
Re: Progress is good...
@lgarza,

Thanks for the clarification. Good to know the specifics.
ShahA411
50%
50%
ShahA411,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/21/2014 | 2:07:38 AM
Great
Hotspot 2.0 is a grea!! If you would emphasize some of it'd strength, I could appreciate you. Thanks for sharing. http://www.pokermachinesonline.org/
GeoTel
50%
50%
GeoTel,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/27/2014 | 6:04:25 AM
Appealing
If this made having a stable and reliable hotspot while traveling easier and more affordable, especially abroad, I'd be thrilled to sign up.
mmacpher
100%
0%
mmacpher,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/5/2014 | 6:35:08 PM
Re: Progress is good...
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/5/2014 | 4:27:18 PM
Re: Progress is good...
But ANDSF solves the authentication problem within operators' own WiFi footprints, doesn't it?
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/5/2014 | 4:26:28 PM
Re: HS2.0 Seamless Connectivity
Thanks for the feedback and explanation, Matthew!
lgarza@cisco.com
100%
0%
lgarza@cisco.com,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/4/2014 | 1:09:40 PM
Re: Progress is good...
Sarah.  That's actually a misunderstanding.  Hotspot 2.0 is the standard for securely authenticating users onto a carrier-grade Wi-Fi network.  ANDSF is the standard for network-based policy decisions about whether the user will move onto the cellular or the Wi-Fi network given network conditions.  They are not mutually exclusive.  They work in synch.
mmacpher
100%
0%
mmacpher,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/3/2014 | 11:58:42 PM
HS2.0 Seamless Connectivity
HotSpot 2.0 does provide seamless and secure connectivity.  The MWC public Wi-Fi provided both HS2.0 and PSK (Pre-Shared Key - e.g. SSID with password) public access.  This was for two key reasons... First, there needed to be legacy support for non Passpoint compliant devices (Passpoint is the certification the WFA does to ensure HS2.0 device compliance).  Second, HS2.0 authentication goes back to your home operator for authentication, so the home operator of your SIM must be participating in the roaming agreement.  If your home operator wasn't participating you would need to use PSK. 

So, given a Passpoint device and the right operator SIM, why would the MWC experience seem not so seamless?  This is due to the connection priority in your phone.  Most phones will prioritize a known network over an unknown network.  A known network is one that you have connected to before.  HS2.0 networks are considered unknown as they authenticate when discovered, so don't have to be remembered by the device.  The most common known networks on your phone would be your home and/or office. So what happens if your home or office is next to a coffee shop that supports HS2.0?  If HS2.0 was the prioritized connection, then you would connect to the coffee shop instead of your home/office - which is not the desired behavior.

Back to MWC... in order for HS2.0 to work seamlessly your device must have no known networks available, e.g. in Wi-Fi range.  So if you had already connected to MWC via PSK, it would always connect this way.  If you tell your device to forget the PSK network, then bingo... right into HS2.0.  You would not have to tell your device to forget all known networks.  For example, your home network or office network could still be on the device, but since those networks were not available at MWC, no problem, HS2.0 would find and connect you automatically. 

Here is the good news!  As more and more networks enable HS2.0 the more seamless your experience will be.  No more selecting an SSID, accepting a contract, signing up for service, or punching in a credit card.  The connection is done automatically through a roaming relationship with your home operator - just like cellular.  Second, HS2.0 is secure!  It uses 802.1x for L2 authentication, 802.11i for L2 air encryption, and EAP methods (EAP/SIM for MWC) for L3 authentication.  This is far more secure than existing WebAuth and WISPr deployments.

So, although the technology described above may be too complex for the average user, they won't care because they'll just connect automatically, seamlessly and securely.  And... isn't that how it ought to work?
macster
50%
50%
macster,
User Rank: Light Bulb
3/3/2014 | 11:54:22 AM
Re: Progress is good...
I guess Vodafone's Always Best Connected is what they are trying to achieve, but there will always be conflict of interest, since "best connected", more often than not, means lowest cost to subscriber.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/3/2014 | 6:27:41 AM
Re: Progress is good...
I'll have to find the stats for the exact number, but most WiFi usage still happens in the home and office. That's not to say that public WiFi quality doesn't matter. It does, of course. If H2 can help NOT put you on broken or overloaded networks, that'd be just as valuable as getting you on the good ones, IMO.
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
HP's Prodip Sen: The NFV Journey

7|7|15   |   21:39   |   (0) comments


Prodip Sen, CTO of the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) business unit at HP, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the four stages of the NFV journey.
LRTV Documentaries
PSA: The Perils of a Hyper-Connected Society

7|6|15   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


A public service announcement calling attention to the perils of a hyper-connected society.
LRTV Interviews
Guavus Takes Analytics on the Road

7|6|15   |   4:09   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina tells Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders how the analytics tools developed for telcos are applicable to the transportation industry.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mellanox's New 25/50/100Gb/s Ethernet Products

7|6|15   |   2:44   |   (0) comments


Mellanox offers a complete 10/25/40/50/56/100Gbit/s solution that delivers industry-leading performance, scalability, reliability and efficiency for optimal application performance and data center ROI.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Arista's CloudVision

7|6|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading’s founder and CEO, about Arista’s CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat Demo

7|2|15   |   10:53   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Nicolas Lemieux demonstrates how Red Hat is driving innovation through open source communities.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat's Approach to OpenStack Adoption

7|2|15   |   5:17   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Radhesh Balakrishnan outlines his company's open source strategy for both enterprises and telcos.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Goes Mobile With vEPC

7|2|15   |   1:12   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Gabriel Brown discusses results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade that shows a clear commitment by mobile operators to move quickly to virtual EPC deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Business Sense of SDN

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Results of a Brocade-sponsored survey show that CSPs have a clear sense of SDN use cases but are wrestling with the business case. Sterling Perrin of Heavy Reading looks behind the numbers.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Will Be Here Sooner Than You Think

7|2|15   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Forget the usual ten-year cycle for new technologies – NFV will be a core part of CSP networks in five years, based on results of a Brocade-sponsored survey, says Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Gains Traction With CSPs

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro of Heavy Reading analyzes results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade showing that CSPs are getting serious about making the transition to the New IP era.
LRTV Custom TV
It's (Real) Time for Analytics

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges looks at how CSPs say they plan to use analytics to deploy new services in real time as part of The New IP, based on results of a survey sponsored by Brocade.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Equinix walks through the past four digital economy eras from computing to network to connected to today's interconneted world.
Hot Topics
What's a Gigabit Good For?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/1/2015
Colt to Jettison Ailing IT Business
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/30/2015
Eurobites: Activist Investor Takes Stake in AlcaLu
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 6/30/2015
IoT in Action
, 6/30/2015
FCC Chairman Talks Up SDN/NFV
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/2/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Prodip Sen, CTO of the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) business unit at HP, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the four stages of the NFV journey.
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cats with Phones