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WiFi hotspots get Smart in SA

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AlwaysOn has launched AlwaysOnSmart, a Wi-Fi hotspot that offers easy access through automatic authentication and at the same time ensures enterprise-level security.

AlwaysOn has launched AlwaysOnSmart, a next generation Wi-Fi hotspot solution that offers customers enterprise-level security and simplified access through automatic authentication, giving customers easy login at all AlwaysOn Hotspots.

‚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 an integral and strategic complement to other broadband and wireless networks by making it more secure and easier to use,‚ explains Nico Pretorius, Executive Director at AlwaysOn.

‚Wi-Fi hotspots require users to authenticate through a landing or login page, which can be a cumbersome process, especially with mobile devices,‚ continues Pretorius. ‚With AlwaysOnSmart, users can authenticate automatically without the use of any additional client or connection manager software and without having to supply their login credentials before they gain Internet access. AlwaysOnSmart users simply follow a once off registration process to enjoy true ‘always on’ access at all AlwaysOn Wi-Fi Hotspots.‚

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 explains.

AlwaysOn has also developed configuration scripts for Microsoft Windows and Apple devices to simplify the complex configuration associated with EAP-TLS security, allowing users to enable AlwaysOnSmart in a few easy, straightforward steps.

‚The once off registration can be done through our normal landing page. Users simply 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. However, following the launch of AlwaysOnSmart the SSID will now be called AlwaysOn or AlwaysOn@(name of venue), for the open network and AlwaysOnSmart, which is the encrypted network that enables auto login,‚ concludes Pretorius.

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