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New alliance aims to make WiFi, mobile connection seamless

New alliance aims to make WiFi, mobile connection seamless

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A new alliance announced today could mean future transitions between mobile and wireless networks will be far easier.

A new initiative announced today by the GMSA and Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) could mean the future of connectivity between smart devices and WiFi spots made far easier for consumers.

The joint project has been made possible in order to develop both a technical and commercial framework to simplify elements of WiFi roaming-- in short, to remove the need to manually switch between mobile networks and Wifi. Instead, consumers will potentially be able to automatically connect to hotspots with no need to key-in passwords or other settings.

A device's SIM card will be used to authenticate a device on a Wi-Fi hotspot, instead of requiring any input from a user. Dan Warren, Senior Director of Technology at the GSMA said:

"The proliferation of smartphones and tablets around the world, as well as consumers' huge appetite for data means innovative solutions need to be explored to make using the Internet as convenient and as accessible as possible. Through combining the proven capabilities of Mobile Broadband and WiFi technologies, users will have the freedom to move between networks with ease."

The scheme could result in improved Internet speeds, and the transition between mobile and wireless networks may be smoother -- taking some of the manual settings required out of the equation. If it proves successful, it could mean that consumers will be able to benefit from lower roaming costs by jumping on to home or business networks when they are available.

The WiFi roaming will be based on the WBA's 'Next Generation Hotspot' programme and the Wi-Fi Alliance's 'Passpoint certification' technology.

Currently, an agreement on the standard approach for authentication has been reached. The next stage in the alliance will be to discuss and secure guidelines on security, billing, data offload, device implementation and network selection, in order to create consistency for the organisation's members.

Image credit: Theklan/Flickr

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure