Introduction to integrating Windows with wireless hotspots

Wi-Fi hotspots have proliferated in public areas such as airports, coffee shops, and hotels. Operators of such networks generally offer Internet access, either as a complimentary service to their clients that is funded by the venue owner, or as a paid offering.

Various methods have been developed to handle authentication to these networks. Open networks that have captive portals (called the “Universal Access Method” in Wireless Internet Service Provider roaming [WISPr]) are the common denominator, as they are accessible to users on any device that has a WLAN interface and a web browser. However, captive portal extensions (WISPr) and alternate authentication methods (Hotspot 2.0, EAP) offer opportunities to streamline the hotspot connection experience.

The topics in this section address the interaction between a Wi-Fi hotspot operator, their app, and Windows 8, Windows 8.1, orWindows 10. The described actions can be taken by a standard app that is downloaded from the Microsoft Store, or by a mobile broadband app that is installed by Windows to complement a mobile broadband device that is attached to the computer.

Mobile operator scenarios