Currently it only works with iOS 7 devices, though
It seems that two Bay Area [USA] cities – San Francisco and San Jose, have decided to create the world’s largest municipal deployment of Hotspot 2.0 technology. It will have the potential to enable millions of visitors and residents to seamlessly roam between San Jose’s and San Francisco’s free Wi-fi services. Theoretically, it will rival cellular networks. The catch? Presently, you have to own a supported device. Not just an Apple product, mind you, but one which supports iOS 7 or Mac OS X Mavericks. Um, only in America would that sound like a good deal.
Created by the Wi-fi Alliance [WFA], Hotspot 2.0 simplifies and automates how users securely connect to, and roam between Wi-fi networks without users having to manually select a network or sign-in.
Any member of the public can connect to the Wi-fi network if they possess a credential accepted at that hotspot.
The credential itself can be a SIM card; a security certificate; or a username and password; that Wi-fi operators agree to accept for authenticating users on their networks.
Device provisioning and unified authentication services are being provided through a cloud-based system operated by Global Reach whose software platform includes AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) servers.
The Hotspot 2.0 provisioning feature, developed by Global Reach, configures devices with an ‘anonymous’ credential which is used to automatically connect to any network honouring the credential.
It is also a component in the process used to generate the encryption keys for the secure connection.
Flavio Aggio, CTO for the Department of Technology in the City of San Francisco, commented, “With this Hotspot 2.0 network in place, we expect more and more peering with other network and authentication providers which will allow us to realise our collective vision for global Wi-fi roaming.”
Pretty narrow vision, Flavio, if you launch a network which only works with mobile devices supplied by just one hardware manufacturer. But then Apple is a Bay company, is it not?