Boingo Wireless (News - Alert) has launched what the company says is the world’s first commercial next generation hotspot network at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
So what makes it “next generation?” The “Boingo Passpoint” network allows for seamless roaming and carrier offload, automating network identification, authentication and encryption without user intervention.
In other words, where public Wi-Fi once was about enabling PC users to connect to the Internet, the Wi-Fi hotspot now is viewed primarily as a way to offload mobile service provider data traffic.
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“We believe that carrier offload will be an important growth driver for Boingo and the Wi-Fi industry at large, especially as standards-based seamless offload methods like this become more prevalent in market,” said David Hagan, CEO of Boingo Wireless.
That initiative is one more example of the ways fixed networks are becoming an integral part of the mobile network, both when there is no formal business relationship between mobile and fixed service providers.
About 68 percent of Android (News - Alert) data consumption occurs over a Wi-Fi connection, a study of users by Informa Telecoms and Media and Mobidia has found. The study shows that the most-balanced usage was in India, where Android users consumed about 53 percent of their handset data using Wi-Fi, both private and at public locations, though public locations represent just about one percent of consumption in India and just two percent in the U.S. market.
That data simply confirms the crucial role now played by mobile offload to third-party access networks.
In turn, the next generation hotspot represents the fundamental and enduring value of a fixed network, namely the ability to deliver huge amounts of data at a reasonable price, compared to wireless networks of all types.
How long, you might ask, will it be before the fundamental value of “mobile phone service” starts to shift in the same direction, blending the value of “on the go” voice and text communications with “on the go” access to the Internet?
Edited by Alisen Downey
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