Internet and Businesses Online

Hotspots Roaming Providers

Roaming between hotspots is similar to roaming in GSM networks. WiFi aggregator provides possibility for hotspots, to authenticate users in external database. Authorization is done through the Internet. There are two practices of user logging-in to a given hotspot. First, roaming operator requires client software to be installed on the device trying to connect to the access point. Every time the user tries to connect to the hotspot, aggregator specific software configurates his device to properly communicate in the network. The second approach is to have the same configuration on the user’s device and all aggregated hotspots access controllers. Then, in both cases, user receives the login page, where he puts his username and password. “Smart” access point or access getaways have internal logic to recognize if the user trying to gain access is in users local database or aggregator database. This information is transmitted through the Internet to the roaming operator server. In the aggregator’s place, there is installed some kind of AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) database, for example RADIUS server, with registered users and the description of AAA procedures for those users. After receiving the authentication request, the database server checks validity of the user information and then responds back to the access controller of a given hotspot, if such user has permission for access. As soon as hotspot receives respond from aggregator server, it opens the Internet access for the user. There are many solutions for roaming operators offered by various companies. Each of them differs in details, but the main idea remains this same.

Here are few examples:

Few methods of doing business for companies to sustain itself in hot spot industry has been formed lately: The services from the service providers for super boost wifi should be according to the requirement of the person. The doing of business will be good and great for the person. A hotspot can be provided to the family members. The use of the internet will be great with the availability of the super boost speed. 

  • a) Wholesale business model. Companies using this model deal only with business-to-business relationships. They usually do not sell their services to end-users. Some of them are setting up their own hotspots. Example of such approach is Boingo WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider); with exception that Boingo sells services to business and also to end-users. Their white paper ( as of 2004.03.25) shows how wholesale business model in WiFi industry works. Boingo took pattern for its business model from ISP (Internet Service Providers) industry. This model contains 4 layers. First layer contains companies, so called brands, which sell subscriptions to end clients. They sell the service to the end user under their name/logo. Brands only resell subscriptions from aggregators, members of second layers. Aggregation company is a connection between brands and various HSOs (HotSpot Operators). Boingo places it self in this layer. HSO in the third layer operate networks of owned APs (Access Points). These companies deploy APs and can provide every thing that is necessary to set up a hotspot (including equipment, Internet access, service). It is possible for a single location to be a HSO itself, but practice shows that usually location owners doesn’t operate HS by themselves. Last layer are locations where WiFi access will be available, that includes restaurants, hotels, airports and other places where wireless access to the Internet is needed. Boingo shows that the best business model for WiFi industry is when end-user pays monthly fee to roaming company directly or thru agent in form of brand. For this fee user can access all APs which where deployed by HSO, which have a contract with Boingo like company. Location owner and HSO receive a fee for every access of users in their network.
  • b) Retail business model is based on serving end users. It requires high investment on getting end user and keeping him with company. Example of such company in US is Wayport (, which deploys their own hotspots (mainly at airports and hotels) and sells subscription to customers. Users simply buy service from owners of APs. Despite of focusing on end user, usually they join roaming agreements to earn more money (users from other networks can access their HSs.
  • c) Value-added business model. This model is used usually by locations, which want to attract customers by offering them free service. Some group of people will choose their place for meeting depending on Internet access. That is when customers choose their venue among the others; they generate more profit, which spend on cost of hotspot. People actually pay for WiFI service in price of product they buy (for example coffee). Other variation of that business model is providing free net access by few locations in one city squares or shopping centers – simply to divide cost of running HS to many retails. This method is implemented by, which explains it in its white paper

In the future, along with growing number of hotspots, WiFi technology will develop and number of services using this technology will increase. Lately 802.11b was a most popular standard, now 802.11a and 802.11g gained its popularity, today IEEE group is working on another wireless standard: 802.11n. Its ratification should speed up development of such services like VoIP over WLAN. Transmission rates for this new standard will be at least 108Mbit/s in existing 20-Mhz channels and even more in wider channels. To achieve such high-throughput IEEE 802.11 changed PHY and MAC layers. Newly developed layers also give four or five time improvement of the achievable rate, in comparison with previous standards. 802.11n will be backward compatible with 802.11a/g as it will be applicable in both: 2,4 GHz and 5GHz bands. It will use security and authentication mechanisms from 802.11i standard, which used full WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) for data encryption and TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) that generates new encryption key for every 10kb of data. Another standard has a lot of potential to rule hotspot market: WiMAX. It’s a standard that is already fully defined. WiMAX devices should be soon available for sale. It has two important advantages over currently used 802.11b/g standards. First – it has range up to 50km, which means it is WMAN (Wireless Metropolitan Area Network). This would prevent fragmentation of the market, which we have in current WiFi with range of 100 meters. Second advantage is data transmission range of 75Mbps, which brings it close to current fixed Ethernet networks. With increasing bandwidth in hotspots there will be opportunities for many other solutions, such as VoWLAN or Streaming Video.


Catherine Han founded Murals Plus in 2017 and is currently the managing editor of the media website. She is also a content writer, editor, blogger and a photographer.

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