Ruckus Wireless has announced that several of its Smart Wi-Fi products are now Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) Passpoint certified. This means they support Hotspot 2.0 allowing a mobile device to automatically roam to another network.
To achieve certification, several Ruckus ZoneFlex access points (APs), including the ZoneFlex 7372 and ZoneFlex 7351 indoor APs, and the ZoneFlex 7762 outdoor AP, plus the Ruckus ZoneDirecto 3000 controller and Ruckus SmartCell Gateway (SCG) 200 have demonstrated interoperability with other Passpoint-certified equipment and devices.
Ruckus is one of the initial Wi-Fi equipment suppliers to be involved in developing the Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 Specification, which is the underlying technology for the Passpoint certification.
The WFA Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint program ensures that APs and client devices comply with established technical specifications. Hotspot 2.0 capabilities are emerging in a series of releases, and mobile devices with Hotspot 2.0 support are now available in the market, including the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.
Hotspot 2.0 is focused on enabling a mobile device to automatically discover APs that have a roaming arrangement with the user’s home network provider and then securely connecting to them. Wi-Fi roaming would apply anytime a mobile device does not see an AP belonging to its home network provider.
A user could roam on a Wi-Fi network that is across town or on the other side of the world. Roaming partners can include MSOs, MNOs, wireline operators, public venues, enterprises, and basically any other entity that has Wi-Fi assets. Roaming can be accomplished with dual mode devices (smartphones) or Wi-Fi-only devices like tablets and laptops.
With Hotspot 2.0, the client device is equipped by an authentication provider with one or more credentials, such as a SIM card, username/password pair, or X.509 certificate. The device can then query Hotspot 2.0 capable APs to see if it belongs to a visited network that supports roaming with the devices home network.
“Ruckus is dedicated to driving Wi-Fi innovation in improving how people interact with wireless networks, and we believe the Passpoint standard will catapult Wi-Fi to new levels by greatly simplifying how people access wireless networks,” said Steve Martin, senior vice president of engineering, Ruckus Wireless.
“Equally important, Hotspot 2.0 technology can help open up substantial new revenue opportunities for operators that aggressively move forward with forming roaming consortiums that could be made up of thousands of partners and millions of access points.
“These roaming consortiums can allow users to be automatically and securely connected to Wi-Fi APs in almost any location, and that's something we believe people will pay extra for—Wi-Fi roaming can be every bit as profitable and compelling as cellular roaming,” said Martin.
Historically, to connect to a hotspot, users have had to perform the arduous task of manually selecting from a number of Wi-Fi networks that may or may not be able to provide them service and perform the tedious process of logging in with their user credentials.
Using Passpoint-certified devices, this process is completely automated. Passpoint-certified mobile devices automatically select a Wi-Fi hotspot based on information advertised by certified Wi-Fi access points like Ruckus ZoneFlex.
With Passpoint mobile devices and Wi-Fi access points, information is provided that tells which network is available for service and which hotspots support roaming with the user’s home service providers. Once this is established, the user’s mobile device will automatically connect to the appropriate hotspot while securing the link with advanced Wi-Fi security.
While working with the Wi-Fi Alliance on Passpoint certification of its products, Ruckus also has worked closely with the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) to certify its Smart Wi-Fi products for interoperability with the WBA’s Next-Generation Hotspot (NGH) and NGH service requirements.
The operator-led WBA certification is a parallel effort conducted for mobile, broadband and cable operators so that certified Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi products can be deployed by such operators who implement the Hotspot 2.0 Specification from the Wi-Fi Alliance.
For more information on WFA Passpoint certification see: http://www.wi-fi.org/discover-and-learn/wi-fi-certified-passpoint%E2%84%A2.