Hotspot 2.0 and the Hospitality Industry
What is Hotspot 2.0?
Hotspot 2.0 is a standard designed to provide a secure and more accessible way for end-users to connect to WiFi hotspots. Developed by the WiFi Alliance, the standard uses 802.11u and 802.1x as a foundation to create a seamless WiFi connectivity experience for users by automating network discovery, registration, and authentication.
Traditionally, it is not clear to distinguish which network is legitimately run by an operator and phishing networks. It is on the onus of the user to trust and connect to an SSID. The user then needs to select the authentication method (e.g., EAP-SIM, EAP-TLS, EAP-TTLS. EAP-PEAP MSHCAPv2, etc.), and would be required to log in every time for Internet access. In addition to the inconvenience, many public WiFi networks are open and do not use encryption, and therefore, the user’s information is not protected. For roaming users, the user needs to remember multiple SSIDs and manually scan and connect to them.
In short, it scans for the “best” WiFi hotspot with better network quality. It automatically connects the user without the everyday hassle of choosing SSIDs and keying in user credentials.
Hotspot 2.0 is more relevant now
Hotspot 2.0’s initial appeal used to be more for the general traveler (i.e., easy roaming). While the worst impact from Covid-19 is over, essential travel is already beginning to pick up as countries create travel bubbles or green lanes amongst themselves to keep businesses going. These corporate travelers will demand even more on network quality, within and outside hospitality spaces, and judiciously reduce their time outside of the hotel or between traveling from hotel to workplace and vice versa. A fast and reliable connection is critical because travelers will prefer places with safety precautions and spend only the necessary time in that area, nothing more. Hotspot 2.0 enables roaming between properties, so it works well for both the hotel operators and Telcos, who have agreements with these properties.
Hotel groups can also use Hotspot 2.0 to encourage brand loyalty by ensuring that guests in the same group will automatically connect via Hotspot 2.0 (using the profile downloaded when they install the hotel’s loyalty app). The traveler is likely to stick to the same brand if the property ensures compliance with social distancing or safety standards. If they continuously get a reliable and fast Internet connection when at these properties, they are more likely to return and conduct business there.
Hotspot 2.0 enables your guests to experience automatic, secure, and seamless connectivity, and they shall be connected to the WiFi network with the best possible network quality.
Hotspot 2.0 Benefits
- An easier way to access and provide secure WiFi
- Aims to provide cellular type “roaming” functionality
- Online Sign-Up offers lists of providers to subscribe
- No hassle of requiring or identifying multiple SSIDs
- Uses WPA2-Enterprise encryption methods
ANTlabs Hotspot 2.0 Solution
ANTlabs Tru’Auth AAA is Hotspot 2.0 ready. Onboarding mobile users for the Carrier’s WiFi network is more convenient with the Hotspot 2.0 OSU (Online SignUp) server in our Tru’Auth AAA solution suite. Besides the onboarding of local subscribers, Carriers and WiFi Service Providers can offer seamless onboarding and roaming services for foreign mobile users to join the WiFi network, thus, increasing WiFi offloading traffic.
ANTlabs Hotspot 2.0 Features
- Online Signup Functionality by providing OSU server and portal for registration
- Profile creation and push to a device based on device detection from portal
- Policy management for all users created in OSU server
- Hotspot 2.0 Release 1 and Release 2 Support
- Supports Authentication protocols like EAP-SIM/AKA EAP-TLS/TTLS
- Provisioning of EAP-TLS/TTLS certificates in non-SIM devices.
- Integrated with well-known AP vendors like Cisco, Ruckus, and able to integrate with any access vendor which supports Hotspot 2.0.
Although the hospitality sector is badly affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, countries and businesses are already starting to open up from the lockdown. While tourism travel remains low for the foreseeable future, essential travel is recovering, and business travelers expect hospitality venues to cater to their needs (i.e., social distancing, fast internet). Discerning hospitality properties that use IT technology like Hotspot 2.0 to meet the hyper-connected business travelers will see their brand loyalty increased and help them edge out competitors in this recovering travel sector.