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Wi-Fi body wants hotspots to override 3G

Data auto re-route tech in development

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The Wi-Fi Alliance has proposed to develop a standard that would allow mobile gadgets to automatically log on to public wireless hotspots.

Most modern smartphones already support Wi-Fi and automatically route data over such connections if they can, to reduce data flow over pricey - and often slower - 3G HSPA links.

The WFA's wants phones to use public hotspots this way, as seamlessly as logging in to the office or home wireless network is.

It also wants the system to allow data already travelling over a 3G link to be automatically and invisibly - to the user - re-routed through a hotspot that has come into range.

The scheme mandates WPA 2 wireless security, and automatic hotspot sign-on using pre-programmed credentials.

The WFA pitches the system as a win for network operators. The technology will lead to reduced congestion on their 3G cells, and will allow them to make more of their partnerships with Wi-Fi zone owners.

Of course, hotspots that support the system will need their ability to do so to be certified, which means work for the WFA's engineers and bureaucrats, so it's a win for the WFA too. ®

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