What would you think if each time you turn on your GSM/CDMA mobile you had to choose and setup the antenna you are loging in? Well that ease of use that allows our grandmothers to use the mobile is what FON is bringing to ALL wireless devices, Game Consoles, MP3 players, Wireless Phones, you name it…
Most of us internet users love WiFi (WLAN) but we are tired of going thru the whole list of Open, WPE, WPA, WPA-PSK, Semi-Open, networks with our PDAs or notebooks every time we want to log on. When we were not at home, we wanted to open our device and start surfing much as we do with our mobile phones. Fon is now deploying the largest wifi network in the world and now we have started addressing exactly this issue.
What is our solution?
We have developed a Smart Client that runs on wifi devices. This client uses previously stored Fon credentials (username and password) for auto-login to any fonera (fon hotspot). This Smart Client is being ported now to several Operating Systems and more and more Wireless gandgets will be now shipped with this Fon Ready Smart Client.
The operation is simple, once you get any of those Fon Ready devices you just need to input the FON key once and then you autologon for as long as your key is valid on that device. After that the Smart Client takes care of the search and selection of Foneras in range to log you in.
What is behind this feature?
We try to work always with open protocols that are free and available for the open source community to improve them. In this case we based our Smart Client and the UAM interface development on a WiFi Alliance proposed protocol, the WISPr, and we modified the protocol a bit for best fit Foneros needs.
The Smart Client running on the WiFi gadget searches first for a Fon AP at range and if it finds one then uses HTTPS with embedded XML code to initiate the Authentication process against the UAM Interface located in la Fonera. After an exchange of packets between Smart Client and Fon AP, the Smart Client directly sends its encrypted credentials to the Authentication Server. Authorization Server verifies that the credentials belong to a Fonero and then grants full access to the WiFi Gadget thru the FON AP.
This process, takes just a few seconds and allows the Fonero WiFi gadget owner to get connected seamlessly to any Fon AP at range.
We are actively working together with WiFi gadgets designers R&D teams around the world to implement this feature in a large range of devices so Foneros have more and more choices for their preferred Broadband needs.
We at Fon very much hope that within a year Nintendo DS, PSP, Motorolas, Nokias, Samsung, will adopt the standard. We have recently launch our first prodcut that functions with this open source standard, the Skype WiFi phone that we sell with the fonera.
At Fon we are determined to improve the two bad things about wifi, lack of ubiquity and log on difficulties.
Thanks Jordi Vallejo for your help in this post.
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars