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Wi-Fi Passpoint Standard Will End Hotspot Sign-Ons

By - Source: IDG News Service | B 9 comments

Sounds like joining a public access point might get a little easier in the next year.

In a white paper released on Tuesday, the Wi-Fi Alliance outlined a program that will allow Wi-Fi device owners to jump onto hotspots without the need for annoying usernames and passwords. Called the Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint, the first phase of certification tests will begin in July. The second phase will begin next year and provide additional features.

The purpose of the new standard should be fairly obvious: to allow device owners to move from access point to access point without the need to keep track of various usernames and passwords. Even more, hotspot owners will be able to remove their "splash screens," those annoying browser-based web pages that greet visitors after they've connected. These typically contain the user agreement and don't require usernames and passwords.

"As an industry-wide solution, Passpoint will work in any network and overcome the limitations of proprietary, non-interoperable solutions offered by some providers today," the Alliance said in its white paper.

Unlike current methods, admission to a network via Passpoint will take place in the background which may eventually involve the SIM card. This would allow Wi-Fi devices like cameras and low-end cellphones to join Passpoint-certified Wi-Fi networks where they are authorized. Adding authentication to the SIM card would also simplify the transition between a carrier's mobile network and its Wi-Fi based hotspot network (like AT&T).

The first phase, according to the paper's outline, will not only test authentication methods, but the Alliance will also certify products for network discovery and selection using the IEEE 802.11u standard. Certification will be based on user preferences, available networks and other factors. The Alliance will also establish the security aspect for every connection using Passpoint, mandating its own WPA-2 Enterprise technology.

The second phase, launching next year, will see the Passpoint standard expand to offer a streamlined process for setting up a new user account at the point of access. Operator-specific subscriber policies, including for network selection, will also be added to the standard.

The Alliance said that Passspoint hotspots can be made compatible with older access points and devices, although the benefits of using Passpoint won't be available. Otherwise, vendors will need all the components of the specification to win the full-flown Passpoint certification.

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  • 11 Hide
    wopr11 , February 23, 2012 12:17 PM
    Google, Facebook and Apple will tweak the new standard to further track where users shop, eat, drink and sleep - and then claim they were not aware they had been tracking their users. Once they are caught, they will issue a statement indicating that they "respect" users privacy and will issue a patch to avoid legalities - until a newer technology allows them to do the same thing all over again - and the cycle continues.
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    wopr11 , February 23, 2012 12:17 PM
    Google, Facebook and Apple will tweak the new standard to further track where users shop, eat, drink and sleep - and then claim they were not aware they had been tracking their users. Once they are caught, they will issue a statement indicating that they "respect" users privacy and will issue a patch to avoid legalities - until a newer technology allows them to do the same thing all over again - and the cycle continues.
  • 0 Hide
    tului , February 23, 2012 12:42 PM
    wopr11Google, Facebook and Apple will tweak the new standard to further track where users shop, eat, drink and sleep - and then claim they were not aware they had been tracking their users. Once they are caught, they will issue a statement indicating that they "respect" users privacy and will issue a patch to avoid legalities - until a newer technology allows them to do the same thing all over again - and the cycle continues.


    Use a fake ID when setting up your mobile data plans. Who cares if they know what Bob Clives does. He's not real.
  • 1 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , February 23, 2012 12:43 PM
    weaker then WEP. nice.
  • 0 Hide
    mrmaia , February 23, 2012 12:49 PM
    wopr11Google, Facebook and Apple will tweak the new standard to further track where users shop, eat, drink and sleep - and then claim they were not aware they had been tracking their users. Once they are caught, they will issue a statement indicating that they "respect" users privacy and will issue a patch to avoid legalities - until a newer technology allows them to do the same thing all over again - and the cycle continues.


    Who needs GPS tracking when you can use WiFi tracking? lol
  • 3 Hide
    anonymous32111 , February 23, 2012 3:40 PM
    Just link your MAC address to your SIM card and BAM - you conveniently have a record which can be used to track you down and prosecute you to the fullest extent in court!

    Also you can log onto Wi-Fi networks 2 seconds quicker! Great for all your bicycling-wifi needs!

    Its like a digital passport for your computer! Authorities love it!
  • 0 Hide
    freggo , February 23, 2012 3:44 PM
    Google will come up with a way to analyze your patterns and predict where you will be next Tuesday afternoon. Than they will show ads for restaurants in that area :-)

  • 1 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , February 23, 2012 5:08 PM
    People have GPS on their cell phones and everyone's knee-jerk reaction to this is about how authorities/companies will be able to track where you are? Wow.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , February 23, 2012 5:50 PM
    Who thinks this is a good idea? The current system works fine and this will just cause a privacy nightmare. Stop trying to find out who every person is online. Anonymity is a good thing.
  • 0 Hide
    livebriand , February 24, 2012 3:19 AM
    So even more methods for them to track you? Having to go through a sign-in page isn't that big of a deal!
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