Hotspot 2.0 makes public Wi-Fi work like a cellular network by automatically connecting devices, rather than forcing consumers to go through a login portal. Hotspot 2.0 removes major hurdles to previous Wi-Fi networks by improving accessibility while increasing security, making it comparable to a home Wi-Fi network.
But while mobile carriers would try to offload data traffic from their cellular networks to HotSpot 2.0, TWC, which doesn't have a mobile network, uses it to give cable customers access to broadband connections outside their homes.
“TWC's nationwide Hotspot 2.0 deployment is important because it represents the first large-scale availability of important new features, bringing automatic login over a secure Wi-Fi connection in a service provider network," Yankee Group Principal Analyst Ken Rehbehn said, commenting specifically on a GigaOm article. "Seamless and secure access to TWC’s hotspots – as well as partner locations – helps beef up the broadband Internet offer from the cable operator. For end users, this provides another tool to manage mobile broadband data costs in an era with tiered usage charges. For the Wi-Fi ecosystem, TWC's move is important because it adds to the network effect of Hotspot 2.0: The more hotspots supporting Hotspot 2.0, the more valuable this Wi-Fi service becomes."
Time Warner is the first national use of Hotspot 2.0 in the U.S.; Boingo began offering it in February, but only to select locations.