The Silver Bullet for Neutral Host Wi-Fi Offload
The industry has discussed the need for Wi-Fi offload with a neutral host for years. However, there have been many challenges in getting this to work in practice. The challenges include security and privacy concerns, interoperability issues, and the need for standardized authentication and roaming protocols to ensure seamless connectivity for users across different networks.
All You Need To Know About OpenRoaming – White Paper
This is an excerpt from our white paper, All You Need To Know About OpenRoaming. The full white paper is available here if you like what you read. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Remove Neutral Host Challenges
OpenRoaming is secure and seamless while allowing service providers to roam only with networks of a certain standard. A mobile operator can, for example, decide to roam only with ANPs fulfilling at least the Silver QoS level by using the corresponding Closed Access Group (CAG) policies. By doing so, the mobile operator will ensure the quality of service for the offloaded user is good enough for, e.g., Wi-Fi Calling and video. This is crucial for the settlement-free use cases where they may roam with ANPs with whom they have no relationship.
Johan Terve, Author of the White Paper
OpenRoaming may become the silver bullet for neutral host Wi-Fi offload, as it removes all technical and practical challenges.
Roam With Specific Neutral Hosts
But OpenRoaming can also be used for more conscious roaming between specific providers. Take a shopping mall as an example of a neutral host operating as an ANP in OpenRoaming.
They can make bilateral commercial agreements with multiple mobile operators acting as IDPs. When the users come within range of the Wi-Fi network at the shopping mall, they will be automatically and securely onboarded to the OpenRoaming service through SIM authentication (EAP-SIM/AKA/AKA’ or EAP-5G) with their mobile operator.
The shopping mall can even prioritize the mobile operators’ subscribers over other users if they comply with the advertised QoS level for all. This will make it possible for the shopping mall to charge more for the offloaded users.
It is not a problem that the user may have multiple installed OpenRoaming profiles on the device, such as one from the mobile operator and one from the device manufacturer. The shopping mall can utilize the Home Service Provider preference functionality defined in Passpoint to prioritize the mobile operators over other IDPs.