“The solution follows the international trend being led by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), a group of global telecom operators. It aims to make Hotspot 2.0 or next generation hotspots more secure and easier to use,” explained Nico Pretorius, executive director at AlwaysOn.
“Current Wi-Fi hotspots require users to authenticate through a landing or login page, which can be a cumbersome process, especially with mobile devices,” explained Pretorius. “With AlwaysOnSmart users can authenticate automatically by following a once-off registration process.”
AlwaysOnSmart connects users over an EAP-TLS connection with AES encryption, which currently offers the most secure enterprise-level network connection.
“This encryption protocol effectively deals with one of the key criticisms of public Wi-Fi, namely the limited security of open Wi-Fi connections,” he explained.
“The once-off registration can be done through our normal landing page. Users log in to ‘My account’, select the AlwaysOnSmart option and follow a few easy steps to register and configure their device.”
According to Pretorius, AlwaysOn has begun the roll-out of this service to the entire AlwaysOn Hotspot network, a process that will be completed within the next two to three months.
Users will be able to track the roll-out and view which venues have been enabled for AlwaysOnSmart by visiting http://locator.alwayson.co.za.
Any contract, prepaid or roaming partner customer will have access to the service, with a subscription option, offering aggressive pricing, due for launch in the near future.
“Users should also be aware that the AlwaysOn SSID has changed following the launch of this solution. The AlwaysOn service was initially launched under the ‘Internet’ SSID, which was generic enough to let customers know that it was a connection to the web,” said Pretorius.
“However, following the launch of AlwaysOnSmart the SSID will now be called ‘AlwaysOn’ or ‘[email protected][name of venue]’, for the open network and ‘AlwaysOnSmart’, which is the encrypted network that enables auto login.”