Next-gen WiFi hotspots getting closer to reality

WiFi technology has been a huge boon to Internet access. In addition, wireless phone providers can offload traffic in high congested areas to WiFi hotspots. Now the Wireless Broadband Alliance has announced that it has completed the first trials for a new version of a WiFi hotspot that, when put into general practice, should make accessing them easier.

Currently when a smartphone or a 3G/4G connected laptop goes from a regular wireless signal to a new WiFi hotspot, the user has to type in a user name and password before accessing the WiFi signal. The next generation WiFi hotspot technology should, in theory, eliminate that extra step. Instead, the smartphone or laptop's SIM card will have the login information stored so that users can seamlessly connect to a new WiFi hotspot.

When this technology is freely available, it should allow for wireless networks to sell devices that can switch between the regular network and any WiFi hotspots it operates on the fly. AT&T was one of the many wireless providers around the world that helped with these first trials.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance says that it plans to officially deploy the first next generation WiFi hotspots within the next 12 months. It will also launch trials of more advanced WiFi features in the second half of 2012.

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