Boingo continues Passpoint trials with multiple carriers, adds Android Marshmallow support

Boingo Wireless continues to conduct Next-Generation Hotspot (NGH) Phase 3 trials as part of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) program, with multiple carriers, equipment providers and device OEMs participating.


At the same time, the Wi-Fi provider is seeing a lot more devices able to take advantage of Passpoint security features. The company recently announced that its roaming network of more than 100,000 "Passpoint Secure" hotspots is available to subscribers using select Android devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Passpoint evangelists say the technology makes connecting to Wi-Fi as simple and secure as cellular.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) kicked things off with Passpoint support in its iOS. Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows 10 also supports Passpoint in the Surface and other devices, and now Android 6.0 Marshmallow has Passpoint support baked in. Earlier this year, Boingo CEO David Hagan said the Wi-Fi aggregator was working with Apple, Microsoft and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) to help them implement Passpoint into handsets.

Passpoint now works with all Hotspot 2.0 capable devices running Android 6.0, Windows 10, iPhone 5 (or higher), iPad third generation (or higher), iPad Air, all iPad Minis and Macs running OSX Mavericks (or higher).

Besides simpler connectivity, Passpoint offers greater security, Boingo CTO Derek Peterson told FierceWirelessTech. It's got WPA2, the current generation of Wi-Fi security, which uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and IEEE 802.1X, which is widely used in corporate networks. WPA2 is based on IEEE 802.11i and provides 128-bit AES-based encryption.

Without the level of security that Passpoint provides, devices could be susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks. One of the advantages of Passpoint is the handshake that's going on between the access point and the device; it's also using a certificate to ensure proper connectivity to a real device instead of a man-in-the-middle attack or spoofed Wi-Fi connection, Peterson said.

With the holiday season approaching, Boingo noted that its subscribers using select Android 6.0 devices will be able to access the company's "Passpoint Secure" networks at more than 25 of the busiest airports in the U.S.

In April, Boingo announced the signing of Sprint as part of the industry's first major carrier offload deal. That agreement will enable up to 40 million Sprint handsets to seamlessly offload traffic onto Boingo's Wi-Fi network, starting with 35 airports nationwide. The company expects more offload deals to emerge with other operators.

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