The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the industry association focused on driving the next generation Wi-Fi experience, today announced the launch of its Interoperability Compliancy Program (ICP), an initiative that will streamline the way WBA members work together on a common set of technical and commercial frameworks for Wi-Fi roaming. Key global players in the Wi-Fi ecosystem such as AT&…
The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the industry association focused on driving the next generation Wi-Fi experience, today announced the launch of its Interoperability Compliancy Program (ICP), an initiative that will streamline the way WBA members work together on a common set of technical and commercial frameworks for Wi-Fi roaming. Key global players in the Wi-Fi ecosystem such as AT&T, Boingo Wireless, BT, China Mobile, KT, NTT DOCOMO, PCCW, Shaw Communications, Smart Communications and True have confirmed their participation.
The program outlines compliancy guidelines for operators with different support levels. These range from simple integration requirements for roaming partners, to delivering support for the latest in session security, to more complex charging models and billing mechanisms required for the implementation of Next Generation Hotspots (NGH).
Many wireless operators have come to see public Wi-Fi as an essential component for mobile connectivity. However there remains fragmentation in the way devices connect to and roam on to Wi-Fi networks. The ICP will help the operator globally overcome these challenges by working together to align guidelines on security, data offload, device authentication, network implementation, network selection, charging models and billing mechanisms. The program will make it easier for operators to enter into roaming agreements. By promoting and advocating a common set of requirements and procedures for Wi-Fi roaming, carriers will better understand how to integrate their networks to support roaming. In addition, the WBA is making a tool available to its members called ‘Wi-Fi Roaming Compliancy Check’ to be used by operators to promote their compliancy and roaming capabilities in the community.
Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the WBA, said: “With public Wi-Fi emerging as a key component of operators’ offerings, it has never been more essential for the WBA to encourage interoperability and collaboration within the Wi-Fi community. Our new ICP provides a framework for operators to assess their own network capabilities and make it easier to create bilateral Wi-Fi roaming agreements. The program’s guidelines help Wi-Fi providers plan for future network enhancements and introduce new products and services. The ICP helps players across the Wi-Fi ecosystem work together to deliver a more simplified roaming experience. By encouraging our members to go that extra mile to expedite interoperability, consumers worldwide will benefit from a far superior connectivity experience wherever they are.”
The program is being managed by the WBA membership which is made up of nearly 100 organizations including a mix of the leading Wi-Fi mobile and broadband network operators and media players across the world.
In parallel with the launch of the ICP, the WBA has just released its Wi-Fi Roaming Guidelines, a guide to help operators develop a Wi-Fi roaming business based on the WBA framework – WRIX – Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange. This is now available to download at http://www.wballiance.com/resource-center/specifications/.
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