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WBA says next-gen wireless services will be rolled out in 2013
The Wireless Broadband Alliance has said next-generation hotspots will be rolled out next year.The first deployments of next-generation hotspots (NGHs) are set to take place over the next year, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).
Many of the world's largest Wi-Fi operators have already participated in successful trials of the technology, which is easier for consumers to use as it allows devices to connect securely and automatically, in a similar manner to mobile networks.
Consequently, NGHs remove the need for people to enter usernames or passwords when connecting to a wireless broadband service, meaning customers should no longer face confusion over which hotspots they can access or how to use them.
Furthermore, the technology allows mobile operators to "offload" many more customers from increasingly busy mobile broadband networks. This issue is particularly important given that mobile data consumption is on the rise.
Research from Allot Communications published earlier this week revealed that mobile bandwidth climbed by 83 per cent during the second half of 2011, while traffic surged at a compound annual rate of 234 per cent throughout the year as a whole.
Trials of NGHs conducted by the WBA were launched to test several requirements of the technology, including network discovery and selection, and the automatic authentication process.
Chair of the WBA Chris Bruce said the pilot scheme was unique because it combined some of the key players from the Wi-Fi ecosystem and the mobile operator community, which came together to offer support to the industry-wide programme.
"The complementary relationship between Wi-Fi and mobile networks is finally becoming a reality. NGHs allow smartphones and tablets to automatically roam from the cellular network on to Wi-Fi hotspots thereby augmenting the coverage and capacity of both," he commented.
"Fixed and mobile operators alike are leading a Wi-Fi hotspot renaissance in a renewed effort to sate the seemingly unquenchable desire for ubiquitous broadband connectivity."
He went on to predict a future where a "great" broadband experience is available via a wide range of technologies.