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GSMA and WBA Partner to Simplify Wi-Fi Roaming

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Mar 20, 2012, 7:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The GSM Association and Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) today announced a new collaboration that they hope will lead to more seamless Wi-Fi access for users of smartphones and tablets. According to the GSMA, the new system will do away with the myriad different ways to authenticate user identities on Wi-Fi networks and will use SIM card-based authentication instead. This will allow mobile network operators to identify customers whether they are on cellular or Wi-Fi networks. The joint initiative is working to create the technical and commercial frameworks for Wi-Fi roaming. It will use the Wi-Fi Alliance's Passpoint technology and the WBA's Next Generation Hotspot technology in addition to the GSMA's own roaming standards. The GSMA and WBA have already made some progress, but the two organizations didn't provide a timeline for when this technology might be available in consumer devices.


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Mar 20, 2012, 1:27 PM

But who will use it?

This sounds great and all, but who will use it? Wi-fi networks, I mean. For instance, my employer has deployed several very large wi-fi networks, which employees can use. However, I can't see any way that they're going to open the networks up in this way unless they can still selectively permit or deny people access, and, at that point, you might as well just stick to the current system. And what about other networks? Most are either home networks or routers installed in businesses, and neither homeowners nor many small business owners are going to want to open up their networks in this way. The only networks I can see signing on to this are the ones owned by the carriers themselves or major commercial operators, and I can't think of t...
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