WBA certification aims to ease WiFi roaming and device availability

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has launched a certification program to facilitate WiFi roaming and offload across countries and carriers.

The Carrier Wireless Service Certification (CWSC) aims to improve the availability and cost of devices which can be deployed globally, as well as reducing customer support times and time to market for service providers. Among the initial backers of the project are AT&T, Boingo, Shaw Communications, HPE-Aruba, Cisco and Ruckus.

The WBA said this would provide a way for operators to carry out end-to-end testing of WiFi services against a range of different equipment, increasing the range of device choices and identifying potential problems before a WiFi network goes live.

Certification also removes the need for an operator to test every product individually, reducing time to market as well as cost.

The CWSC has its roots in the WBA’s Next-Generation Hotspot (NGH) trial program, in which 20 vendors and 50 operators have been holding real life simulations of deployments. The initial focus will be on offload and roaming, but the program will be extended over time to embrace certification for secure SSID, policy interworking, end-to-end quality of service, WiFi Calling and interoperability with future 5G networks.

The WBA’s CEO, Shrikant Shenwai, said in a statement: “There are literally thousands of types of wireless devices out there and over the past six years, we have bought the entire ecosystem together with the aim of bolstering the expansion of NGH in the wireless ecosystem. It’s become clear from our trial that a gap exists in end-to-end interoperability and service delivery for services such as WiFi Roaming and WiFi Offload, and it is our hope that the CSWC programme will provide a concrete step in delivering a more robust right first time service experience.”