Public Wi-Fi hotspots can be dangerous. Sometimes, logging onto a public Wi-Fi hotspot in a crowded city can be like playing a game of Russian Roulette: which one of these open Wi-Fi hotspots isn’t going to steal my information?
Thankfully, an organization called the Wi-Fi Alliance wants to make wireless networks around the world safer. The Wi-Fi Alliance recently unveiled a Passpoint program based on Hotspot 2.0 specifications.
This will make public hotspots “both safer and easier to use” according to Wi-Fi Alliance CEO Edgar Figueroa.
Figueroa went on to say that, “Today, for the most part, when we go on a public hotspot we are sending data without protection. With Passpoint the connections are secure and the communication is encrypted.”
Pretty soon, searching for networks and choosing a network should be a thing of the past. Passpoint will also setup an authentication system between devices and Wi-Fi networks. All Passpoint-compatible devices will connect to those networks automatically when in range.
And the best part about the Passpoint program is that manufacturers are on board with it:
“The beauty of Passpoint is that the whole industry has agreed to do it this way. More than 70 [devices] have been certified.”
In addition, mobile service providers have supported the alliance because they went to lower data usage on their cramped networks. Having easily-accessible Wi-Fi everywhere is a great way to do that.
Think of it like this: when you go to McDonald’s you see a Wi-Fi sign-on page that you have to check. When you go to the airport, you see another one. When you’re at Starbucks, there are even more sign-on pages. With Passpoint, all of these sign-on pages will be unified, which means that as long as your device is Passpoint-compatible, you’ll be able to connect wherever you go.
In other words, expect to find it easier (and safer) to connect to Wi-Fi networks in the near future.