We haven’t quite hit the stage where phones and tablets can roam from any public Wi-Fi network to another as easily as they hop from one cell tower to another. But an attempt to create a network of hotspots supporting seamless handoffs got some more support yesterday with Apple’s announcement of iOS 7.
The new version of the operating system for iPhones and iPads will support the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Hotspot 2.0 specification. Apple didn’t talk about this during its Worldwide Developer Conference presentation, but the support for Hotspot 2.0 was confirmed on one of the slides shown during the presentation.
Hotspot 2.0 is the technology specification behind the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Passpoint certification program. As we wrote last year, the goal of Passpoint is to create a Wi-Fi extension of cellular networks, making it easier for service providers to offload traffic and give users faster Internet connections. Instead of typing in a password, a user could authenticate to the network automatically by virtue of owning a device with a SIM card. Passpoint-enabled devices within range of a Passpoint-supporting hotspot would automatically join it and get the benefit of WPA2 security.
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