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Hotspot 2.0 will enable enterprises to wholesale Wi-Fi access

David Callisch, VP of marketing, Ruckus Wireless | April 10, 2013
The most widely anticipated but least understood "next big thing" in the networked world is Hotspot 2.0 (HS 2.0).

Up to three providers' organization identifier (OI) can be advertised in the roaming consortium element found within the beacons and probe responses. These would be cached in the AP.

If the client requests the full list of providers, the ANQP/GAS request would be forwarded by the AP to a GAS server function in the network. If there are a limited number of providers, the GAS server function could exist on the controller. In the longer term, as HS 2.0 becomes more widespread, the GAS server function will be centralized and service the entire Wi-Fi network.

Taking the tech talk out of it all, what this means is that any enterprise venue will be able to use their existing WLAN network to offer capacity to carriers that are looking to give subscribers a seamless Wi-Fi experience -- just like they have today with their cellphones but without broadcasting numerous Wi-Fi SSIDs.

With HS 2.0, enterprises venue owners and operators can now begin to better monetize their Wi-Fi network investments through these roaming arrangements and the settlements that they entail.

Now the big question is, when does all this become real? The answer is more muddy than clear. While the technical aspects of HS 2.0 have been proven and demonstrated, the business models and framework for implementation still need to be fleshed out. Most expect that this will happen in late 2013 and early 2014. But get ready; with Hotspot 2.0, enterprise Wi-Fi will never be the same.


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