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WiFi Passpoint: Ready for Prime TimeWiFi Passpoint: Ready for Prime Time

With more than 75 Passpoint-certified devices out today, next-generation hotspot technology is starting to have a real impact on carrier WiFi strategies.

Edgar Figueroa

November 18, 2013

2 Min Read
WiFi Passpoint: Ready for Prime Time

Carrier WiFi is surging forward. Operators across the globe are deploying and managing their own carrier WiFi infrastructures, partnering with other operators to expand coverage, and increasing their reliance on WiFi access to improve their subscribers' experience and deliver valuable services.

Recent data from ABI Research reflects the growing trend toward the deployment of operator-managed WiFi networks, with carrier WiFi access point shipments expected to reach 9.7 million in 2018.

WiFi Certified Passpoint was launched in 2012 as an industry-wide solution to streamline network access and eliminate the need for users to find and authenticate a network each time they connect. Passpoint-certified equipment delivers enterprise-grade WPA2 security seamlessly and was developed in the Wi-Fi Alliance through partnerships between mobile device manufacturers, network equipment vendors, and operators. Passpoint reflects the depth and breadth of that collaboration as a great solution for end users, network operators, and device vendors.

Before the program launched, we observed Passpoint gaining quiet momentum as a necessary element of carrier WiFi. Now that Passpoint has launched, it is having an immediate impact and it is delivering value to operators in the following ways:

  • Supports data offload with instant network detection, selection, and authentication

  • Increases customer satisfaction and reduces churn

  • Offers best-in-class security for SIM and non-SIM devices alike

  • Is a key ingredient to WiFi roaming standards currently taking shape

There are more than 75 Passpoint-certified mobile products available today. Commercially available devices range from high-end to mid-level smartphones and tablets, and include a wide variety of brands, such as Samsung Corp. , LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498), Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY), Pantech Co. Ltd. , and AsusTek Computer Inc. , as well as the major operating systems.

The Alliance has certified infrastructure equipment from nearly all the major vendors, and Boingo Passpoint, launched this year at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, is an example of Passpoint-certified equipment providing seamless WiFi access in a demanding operator environment. As the industry collaborates on an industry-standard for seamless WiFi roaming, the value and role of Passpoint will only continue to increase.

Operators are embracing WiFi. The WiFi ecosystem is helping to further enable carrier WiFi with solutions such as Passpoint. WiFi will become more seamlessly integrated into service provider networks. We can surely expect WiFi to continue to be a ubiquitous thread through multiple generations of operator networks in the future.

– Edgar Figueroa, President & CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance

About the Author(s)

Edgar Figueroa

As President and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, Edgar Figueroa has led an unprecedented period of growth for Wi-Fi®, with about 2 billion devices expected to ship in 2013 alone. Under his leadership, Wi-Fi Alliance has grown to more than 550 member companies, maintained an aggressive development roadmap, and adopted a vision of seamless connectivity. He forged numerous strategic partnerships to facilitate penetration of Wi-Fi into established and emerging markets. He also defined the Wi-Fi Alliance Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ program development framework, and guided the launch of several generations of interoperable Wi-Fi programs that have proliferated Wi-Fi into mass markets such as mobile and consumer electronics. Prior to Wi-Fi Alliance, he was at Ridgeway Systems & Software (now Cisco). Edgar was instrumental in delivering the industry's first session border controller, and the H.460.18 and H.460.19 International Telecommunications Union standards for secure network traversal. Before Ridgeway, he held product management and engineering roles at 3M Company. He is a veteran of the United States Navy, where he served in a fighter pilot training squadron and received numerous awards including Sailor of the Year. He has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin Community College, and various community programs in Austin Texas. In 2009, Edgar was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Alumni Hall of Fame. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a Master's degree in Technology Commercialization and undergraduate degrees with honors in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics. 

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