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Wi-Fi Alliance Outlines 'Passpoint' Roll-Out Schedule

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Feb 22, 2012, 8:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Wi-Fi Alliance recently published a white paper that provides details on the Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint program. The Wi-Fi Alliance, wireless network operators, and other purveyors of wireless services have agreed on a set of standards, handshakes, and protocols whereby certified Wi-Fi devices can automatically log into secure Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. The program, first announced a year ago, is meant to help offload data traffic from cellular networks onto faster and more efficient Wi-Fi networks when possible — with little hassle for the end user. The system won't require users to authenticate or enter credentials in order to access Wi-Fi, it will happen automatically in the background. The Wi-Fi Alliance said that by mid-2012 phase one of Passpoint will be underway, which automates network discovery and selection; uses Extensible Authentication Protocols (EAP) for automatic log-ins; and enables WPA2 security. By 2013, the Wi-Fi Alliance believes that phase 2 will be underway, which will establish automatic account provisioning with a common method across vendors; and add the ability for operators to set usage policies.

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