Don’t you just hate it when every time you go to a different shop or public area; you have to enter different logins just to connect to the public network? Well, the Wi-Fi Alliance has just announced a new certification program that will make things easier. Instead of forcing users to sign up for a new account on each network, the program aims to allow users to authenticate themselves with their SIM cards. This means that authentication and billing will be handled automatically, and users don’t have to deal with pesky registrations or logins – just connect to a network and start using it right away. Consumers can even wander around areas with public connections, without having to worry about losing a WiFi signal – by just leaving their WiFi radio on their phone on; their phones can automatically connect to public hotspots just by moving within range. The selection/discovery process will be based on user preferences, operator policies and network optimization. Besides making life for consumers easier, this will also offload a lot of data traffic from cellular to WiFi networks to help prevent data congestion, thus increasing the overall mobile phone experience for everyone on the same network. The program will launch in the first half of 2012, and is supported by Cisco, RIM and Orange. Sounds like a good idea that would benefit both carriers and consumers. Now it’s up to all the carriers and public hotspot providers to hop on board with this program.
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