Connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot may soon become easier, making connections seamless and getting rid of annoying repeated popup login screens, a tech site reported this week.
GigaOM reported that the international Wi-Fi Alliance will begin to certify wireless devices for its industry-wide Passpoint initiative this July.
"With devices using the Passpoint standard, users will be able to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots without having to enter logon credentials with each connection instance and will be able to seamlessly roam from one Passpoint-enabled Wi-Fi network to another," it said.
The seamless roaming to other Passpoint networks and simple connections is expected to come in handy as people start to carry more wireless devices.
Under the first phase of the Passpoint initiative, Wi-Fi hotspot access for in-network access points (APs) no longer requires an active selection or input from the subscriber.
Instead, Passpoint uses a consistent interface and automated association process.
"Devices can be automatically granted access to the network based on multiple credential types," GigaOM said.
SIM-based authentication
For now, Passpoint supports Subscriber Identity Module (SIM)–based authentication, widely used in cellular networks today, as well as username/password combinations and certificate credentials.
"No end-user intervention is required in order to establish a connection to a trusted network," GigaOM said.
The SIM approach also offers a method to provide operator-specific controls for partner networks, it added.
Using SIM cards for authentication is a proven solution for access to cellular networks around the world, GigaOM noted.
It said that whle there are still many CDMA handsets without a SIM card, major carriers are moving towards LTE networks, which are GSM-based and do use a SIM.
On the other hand, simple authentication and roaming will likely be welcomed by carriers who are trying to offload as much cellular traffic as possible to Wi-Fi networks.
Streamlined WiFi provisioning
The second phase of Passpoint, planned for 2013, will add streamlined account provisioning for Wi-Fi as well.
Ideally, the days of using splash screens or login apps for Wi-Fi access will diminish with Passpoint, GigaOM said.
"And that's key because not every connected device has a high-powered web browser or is challenged by input methods," it said.

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