Ruckus Boasts Launch of Hotspot 2.0, Release 2 Gear

Latest news from Ruckus Wireless, from the WBA WiFi Global Congress in London, announcing the introduction of the industry's first commercially available products to be Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA), Passpoint™ certified, for Hotspot 2.0, Release 2.

May 18, 2015

4 Min Read

LONDON -- WBA WI-FI GLOBAL CONGRESS -- Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) announced today at the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) Wi-Fi Global Congress the industry’s first commercially available products to be Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) Passpoint™ certified for Hotspot 2.0, Release 2, effectively transforming how organizations offer and users securely connect to new public WiFi network services.

With Release 2 support of Hotspot 2.0, Ruckus Smart WiFi products now provide a standardized framework for how user credentials are created, configured and administered to client devices in a secure manner—streamlining and securing the client provisioning, and delivering the industry’s first integrated Hotspot 2.0, Release 2 online signup and provisioning server wireless LAN (WLAN) solution.

Though the industry has developed proprietary methods to load credentials onto WiFi enabled devices, these often come with additional cost and complexity, without providing airlink encryption. Hotspot 2.0, Release 2 fundamentally changes this with WPA2 encryption, while providing a way for users to know they are connecting to a trusted entity.

Operators and enterprises can offer users the ability to easily sign up to connect to Wi-Fi services in a simple and secure fashion using a standards based method for automatically loading credentials and mobile configuration parameters onto WiFi devices, while enabling vital airlink encryption. Despite WiFi’s popularity, connecting to public networks or hotspots can still often be frustrating and subject to security concerns, due to the lack of encryption and the inability for a client device to validate the public network or hotspot.

“Several strong growth factors are feeding the rapid acceleration of the WiFi market and Hotspot 2.0 is clearly one of them,” said Richard Webb, research director for mobile backhaul and small cells at Infonetics Research, now part of IHS. “By simplifying and securing the client connection experience while providing seamless roaming between disparate WiFi networks, we expect that Hotspot 2.0 will have a profoundly positive impact that will drive a new stage of WiFi deployments.”

According to its biannual Carrier WiFi Equipment report, in the second half of 2014, Infonetics (now part of IHS) again identified Ruckus Wireless as the global carrier WiFi market share leader by revenue, which was also the case in the first half of 2014, making Ruckus the leader overall, by revenue, for all of 2014 with 21 percent market share. Infonetics/IHS forecasts this market will reach over $2.6B (USD) by 2019.

Transforming Public Wi-Fi Access and Mobility
The exploding demand for wireless data is driving the increased use of public WiFi networks, creating new challenges to improve security and seamless mobility between different WiFi networks. Designed to address these issues, Hotspot 2.0 was developed to effectively automate the user process of connecting to, authenticating against, and roaming between different WiFi networks.

Hotspot 2.0, Release 2 introduces new capabilities that standardize the provisioning and lifecycle management of user credentials, such as how they are securely provisioned, stay valid, and are used in network selection and service policy enforcement. Release 2 also provides flexible and automatic remediation of client devices that enables the ongoing management of user subscriptions, and any other policy changes that may be necessary. Until now, there has been no standard methodology to perform these functions, and no standard format for managing Hotspot 2.0 credentials on client devices.

Release 2 of the Hotspot 2.0 specification brings a higher level of WiFi security for public access, and more robust authentication, along with the ability for WiFi operators to optimize the WiFi user experience through better control of service policy preferences that can be automatically pushed to the client devices. Additionally, once associated to a WiFi network, users are protected against eavesdropping and forging through WFA Passpoint certified WPA2 protected management frames (802.11w) and airlink encryption of user traffic. This also covers the on-boarding process that now can occur over a 802.1X network using anonymous-EAP, removing the need for an Open WLAN for provisioning.

With Release 2, the WiFi network, for the first time, can now advertise that it supports online sign-up (OSU), a standards-based mechanism that lets users signup for a credential that is automatically downloaded to their device. A new Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is also being put in place by the Wi-Fi Alliance to ensure that clients only signup for a credential if the OSU server is validated. These same checks are used for the policy update and remediation functions of Release 2 as well.

Ruckus Wireless Inc.

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