Google Includes Optional Support For WiFi Passpoint Into Android Oreo
Android Oreo has been available for a few weeks as I write this and we are still getting to grips with some of the new features Google has included. One of these new features is WiFi Passpoint, which is designed to make life easier for Wi-Fi users connecting to hotspots. WiFi Passpoint, also known as Hotspot 2.0, is designed to allow Wi-Fi users to connect once to a network of Wi-Fi hotspots and it retains these user credentials when the user moves from one router to the other. Older generation Wi-Fi networks can require the customer to re-sign in when they move to another router, which can get very tiresome!
Hotspot 2.0 can also be an important technology if your carrier doesn’t offer as comprehensive coverage as you would like, especially in large indoor complexes such as shopping centres (malls) or office buildings. It’s especially useful if your carrier and smartphone offer voice and text message services over a Wi-Fi network. Without it, it’s possible that as you move from location to location, your device is connected to a new Wi-Fi hotspot but is not signed in. This means you may not receive incoming calls if you happen to be out of service. Hotspot 2.0 sounds like a great innovation – and yes it was, when it was introduced five years ago in 2012 by the WiFi Alliance! Google is only just getting around to incorporating the technology into Android Oreo.
Furthermore, Google is not mandating that all builds of Android Oreo include WiFi Passpoint, but is instead making the feature optional. This means it’s up to individual handset manufacturers to include the technology. If a manufacturer decides to support WiFi Passpoint, they must ensure the device supports the necessary hardware and software standards, and if the build isn’t going to support WiFi Passpoint, it needs to tell the world via a “UnsupportedOperationException” error. Presumably Google is making WiFi Passpoint an optional technology because for some parts of the world, this Wi-Fi hotspot feature is not prevalent. However, here’s hoping manufacturers decide to incorporate WiFi Passpoint as once you’ve experience a device with this feature, you don’t want to give it up!