Difference Engine: Wireless’s colliding worlds | The Economist

Via Scoop.itdigital culture

If wireless carriers are to charge subscribers for using their Wi-Fi services (and they will, because someone has to pay for all the maintenance and backhaul), then users have the right to demand that moving from one hotspot to another becomes as seamless as roaming on a proprietary cellular network. To the rescue, the Wi-Fi Alliance has developed something called Passport, which implements an emerging IEEE protocol (known as 802.11u) to automate the whole cumbersome process of network discovery, registration and access that users have to do manually today. In the process, Passport ensures that all certified Wi-Fi networks operate seamlessly and securely with one another—to provide a ubiquitous, hassle-free service. Put Passport together with white space or even Gigabit Wi-Fi, and the 802.11 scene begins to look remarkably like the cellular one. Coexisting side by side, they would appear to be a pair of parallel wireless universes—one closed and proprietary, the other open and as freely available as Wi-Fi is today.
Via http://www.economist.com