The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the industry association focused on driving the next generation Wi-Fi experience, today (31 October 2013) announced that it will launch a live Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) experience during its Wi-Fi Global Congress in Beijing on 18-21 November.
The NGH compliant network will allow 13 operators including; AT&T, Boingo, BT, China Mobile, Fon, KT, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, SK Telecom, True, Time Warner Cable, Portugal Telecom and Towerstream to demonstrate the full range of NGH capabilities at the event.
Next Generation Hotspot will enable users with NGH-enabled mobile devices to move seamlessly between cellular networks and publicly available Wi-Fi hotspots. NGH technology enables devices to be seamlessly authenticated without requiring any log-in process, automatically detect networks, and be easily adopted by the networks they move onto, along with secure access.
The WBA has collaborated with China Mobile as host operator along with Aicent as its main hub provider and Cisco as the Wi-Fi network infrastructure provider, to execute this first live public deployment of its kind.
The ‘end-to-end, real-life’ experience will feature live NGH-based Wi-Fi access for users and a number of different demonstrations. At the show, attendees can take advantage of:
- A fully deployed NGH network, provided by Cisco
- Passpoint (i.e. the Wi-Fi Alliance's NGH equipment certification process) certified devices from a number of manufacturers made available to demonstrate and deliver the full ‘end-to-end, real-life’ NGH experience
- Seamless Wi-Fi roaming demonstration with a number of participating WBA member operators through the host operator China Mobile and its local roaming hub Aicent
- Complete network access and backward compatibility including support for legacy devices.
As part of the NGH experience, the WBA will also be offering an ‘NGH Showcase’ which will feature NGH-capable devices, services and applications using the installed NGH network in the venue.
Interest in this technology has been fuelled by the world’s largest operators and vendors recently completing a number of advanced NGH trials which led to the introduction of critical features such as seamless authentication, automatic network detection, adoption and secure access. This will ultimately give users easier access to a far greater number of public Wi-Fi access points around the world, without the need for usernames and passwords per venue.
“Providing a high-quality, seamless mobile broadband experience is one of the biggest considerations for operators the world over. We’re absolutely delighted that at Wi-Fi Global Congress Beijing, we will able to give many people their first chance to see how NGH is enabling this vision,” said Hui Deng, principal staff of China Mobile.
“A Next Generation Hotspot brings the Wi-Fi user experience on par with cellular in terms of seamless authentication and roaming. This demonstration, involving numerous service providers, represents a true industry milestone in the adoption of Hot Spot 2.0. Cisco is extremely proud to be enabling the world’s first live public deployment of the technology including end-to-end roaming based on WBA standards. We expect this deployment to help illustrate the benefits it offers to end users,” said Bob Friday, CTO, enterprise mobility, Cisco.
Shrikant Shenwai, CEO, Wireless Broadband Alliance, added: “After 18 months of successful technical trials encompassing the entire NGH ecosystem, including devices, network infrastructure and operator backends, we are now able to demonstrate that this technology is commercially ready to deliver a real life experience to end users.
“We wanted to provide an environment where end users can experience the benefits of the technology first hand. In cooperation with China Mobile, Cisco and Aicent, we are providing a robust network and delivering a completely seamless and ubiquitous Wi-Fi experience to end users at our Beijing event.
“Attendees will have the opportunity to try out the Passpoint-ready devices, use the network for live demonstrations and test the mettle of NGH to understand why the industry feels that this technology has so much potential,” said Shenwai.
Following substantial support from a large number of global Wi-Fi ecosystem players, NGH has now become a commercial reality and will ultimately give users easier access to a far greater number of public Wi-Fi access points around the world, according to the WBA.
The WBA said it will carry on its advanced trials of the technology and expects public NGH deployments to continue throughout 2013 and beyond.