Actually, WiFi hotspots are not so smart.
There are some troubles for everyone when trying to connect to a WiFi network in a restaurant or in a pub or in a airport. For first you have to connect to the WiFi network, then follow the registration procedure and finally you get your connectivity, that often is not so secure. And you have to repeat the same procedure when moving from a place to another to obtain the new connectivity. This is boring and time expensive!
The WiFi business is still in rapid growth with the coming of the 5G and IoT and in part due to the overload on the traditionals 3G and 4G networks that takes the operators to offload users on WiFi networks. The increasing demand of data by users it’s a big challenge for telcos. The actual cellular network is not so scalable and requires new infrastructures improvements to support the rapid increase of traffic.
For these reasons hotspot networks are so important but they need to be improved, we need a next generation of hotspots.
What does such a next generation could take to improve the actual service? The main goals are to offer a seamless service by a smart roaming between a 3G/4G and WiFi, to improve the hotspot quality of service by an high speed and reliable connection and to improve security.
The main actors on the scene are moving on these aspects developing new standards and protocols for automatically roaming smartphones, tablets and notebooks onto WiFi networks, but they are still in development. An example is Passpoint which is a sort of standard to get a more cellular-like experience when connecting to WiFi networks. Others mobile operators have they own proprietary systems for roaming, and the real challenge here is to provide a sort of agreement between these different roaming systems in order to offer a real seamless experience for all clients. Other projects like Third Generation Partnership Project are focused on providing a seamless continuity between 3G/4G networks and WiFi and between WiFi sessions that is a big technical challenge.
So we could assist to a new era for hotspot networks and mobile communications in general, where the key value is the connectivity as an infrastructure of our smart cities, regardless the means that takes it to our device. We can be browse the Internet, using apps or watch a movie everywhere while moving from a place to another seamless, securely and without really know what kind of connection our device is using.