How Hotspot 2.0 will transform your digital experience of Smart Cities

While public WiFi is convenient, it is not secure and the experience of connecting to it is not seamless. With WiFi Hotspot 2.0, customers would enjoy a secure seamless experience, and carriers & venues would generate new revenue.

  • Adam Ali - Digital Transformation Expert . Adam Ali 🦋 . June 19, 2018
    20 . 3
  • Overview

    Public WiFi is one of the most convenient features of todays highly connected world. While it is convenient to use it to do online shopping, or access your bank account while you are waiting at the airport, or having lunch with a friend at a cafe, it can be unsafe. Data sent through public WiFi can be easily intercepted using readily available tools on the internet. Security is not the only challenge with public WiFi. From the user experience perspective, there are number of challenges as well. Overall, the challenges can be summarised as follows:

    • Insecure internet connection
    • Difficult to connect to
    • Slow speed as there are so many WiFi operating in the same area (this causes interference which affects performance and coverage).

    APIs consumed at a high TPS

    In today's highly connected world, Public WiFi is considered one of the key foundations for Smart Cities as it provides internet access for humans and machines (IoT devices). Also because of the explosion in internet usage, 4G networks are no longer enough and WiFi is considered one of the best offloading solutions for 4G data traffic.

    In this article, I will walk you through a far better digital experience backed by high level architectural design for Hotspot 2.0 based WiFi networks.

    APIs consumed at a high TPS

    Business Scenario

    Anna is travelling from Sydney to Paris and on her way to Paris, she would be using public WiFi a lot. Anna is using a smartphone capable of connecting to WiFi.

    iOS App Store App Bad reviews

    Here are the WiFi enabled places where Anna would be in her way to Paris:

  • 1
  • Anna's Home (She got an internet broadband from Optus and has a WiFi router).
  • 2
  • Anna's cafe near by (The cafe is covered by "The Connection - Rhodes" Public Free WiFi operated by the city council as well as their own WiFi and so many other WiFi hotspots).
  • 3
  • The Train from Rhodes to Sydney Airport (Public Free WiFi operated by Transport NSW, so many personal WiFi hotspots are operating too).
  • 4
  • Sydney Airport (Multiple Public Free WiFi operated by Sydney Airport and cafes inside the airport and personal hotspots).
  • 5
  • Paris Airport (Charles de Gaulle Airport) - Multiple Public Free WiFi operated by Hub One and cafes inside the airport and personal hotspots.

    The problem here is that Anna would have to experience the same WiFi key problems (Unsecured network, interference, lengthy signup forms) when connecting to all of the above WiFi hotspots.

    Hotspot 2.0 & the Digital Experience

    Let's see how Anna digital experience will be transformed if all of the WiFi enabled places are WiFi Hotspot 2.0 enabled.

    API Automation E2E Architecture Design

    Anna needs to signup (from any where) to Optus WiFi Roaming using her Optus Mobile App (this is feature is not available now for Optus). To provide clarity let's assume that Optus had an agreement with several WiFi operators around Sydney and in Paris where Anna is travelling. Sign up is illustrated below (3 easy steps).

    API Automation E2E Architecture Design

    After Anna installs the WiFi configuration profile, the smartphone gets connected automatically to any WiFi Hotspot 2.0 operated by a venue ("The Connection - Rhodes", Train, Airport, etc.) where an agreement is in place between the venue and Optus. Authentication happens using Anna's Optus SIM Card.

    API Automation E2E Architecture Design

    Anna's digital experience is maintained while she's travelling from location to location; thanks to WiFi Hotspot 2.0 roaming.

    Hotspot 2.0 Business Model

    The model below outlines, how everyone including Anna (Optus Mobile Carrier Subscriber) can benefit from WiFi Hotspot 2.0.

    Automated API QA DDT Framework Illustration

    Venues (City Council, Hotel, Airport, etc) can Pay for Public Wi-Fi through Advertising, Premium WiFi (Paid Public WiFi), and Wholesale WiFi capacity to carriers.

    Carriers like Optus are selling roaming packs for travellers at $10/day for unlimited talk and text (which has little or no use nowadays) and 100MB of data (which is far from enough per day while you are travelling out and about) which makes travellers likely to replace Optus SIM while they are travelling with a local SIM and pay less on data. With Hotspot 2.0, and Optus existing partnerships, it is highly likely that Optus customers would prefer to keep Optus SIM and pay for WiFi roaming.

    Where WiFi Hotspot 2.0 is deployed?

    Hotspot 2.0 Architecture Design

    API Performance Test Startegy
  • 1
  • Mobile Device: iOS, Android, MacOS, & Windows mobile devices and laptops that are Passpoint Certified.
  • 2
  • Passpoint APs: Thick Access Points that are Passpoint Certified that can work in a cluster to provide the best coverage and in the mean time has very less management requirements.
  • 3
  • Local AAA & OSU Server: A server that has AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting): Used by Mobile Devices to Authenticate. OSU is the Online Sign-Up server (Users would be created on AWS Cognito Identity Pool). Uses RADIUS to Authenticate devices to Hotspot 2.0 Carriers if the WiFi user is authenticating as a roaming user.
  • 4
  • Roaming Hub: The same hub used by carriers for Mobile 3G/4G roaming (e.g. accuris roaming hub). Hubs can give access to hotel chains as well to authenticate customers.
  • 5
  • Hotspot 2.0 Carrier AAA: AAA Server for Service Providers that enables authentication to HLR (Home Location Register) Using MAP (Mobile Application Part) Protocol.
  • 5
  • Hotspot 2.0 Carrier HLR: Home Location Register is the main database for mobile network subscribers that are authorised to use the mobile network.
  • 5
  • Firewall: DHCP server is not needed when IP addresses are assigned using IPv6 stateless address allocation. If you implement IPv6 we dont need NATing for outbound traffic.

    Hotspot 2.0 also helps in mitigating the risk of Rogue Access Points advertising (SSIDs) themselves as a legitimate Access Point offering public WiFi service.

    API Performance Test Startegy

    Hotspot 2.0 Specifications & Top Vendors

    • Hotspot 2.0 (aka WiFi Certified Passpoint) is the Technical Specifications for WiFi implementation that supports Passpoint Certified Devices.
    • Hotspot 2.0 Release 2 is based on IEEE 802.11u standard
    • IEEE 802.1x for Port Based Authentication
    • Protocols: GAS, ANPQ, EAP, RADIUS & LDAP


    • Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod, Mac (iOS 7 onwards, MacOS 9 onwards)
    • Android

    Access Points & OSU Servers

    • Cisco Meraki
    • Aruba Networks
    • Ruckus Networks

    Conclusion & Takeaways

    While public WiFi is convenient, it is not secure and the experience of connecting to it is not seamless. With WiFi Hotspot 2.0, customers would enjoy a secure seamless experience, and carriers & venues would generate new revenue.

    Notice of Non-Affiliation and Disclaimer: The author of the article is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any of the product vendors (Optus, Amazon AWS, Cisco, Aruba, Ruckus, Orange, etc.) mentioned in this article, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates.

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    About the Author

    Adam Ali - Digital Transformation Expert

    Adam Ali 🦋

    I'm End-2-End Digital Solution Architect & Digital Transformation Expert across several verticals.

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