Now that I tend to compute on the go, Wireless access has become extremely important. Previously, there was Wireless@SGx which required configuration and it also didn’t seem to work on Windows 8 laptops. Well, IDA has now introduced a new technology to assist this process. In fact, on my new Singtel enabled phone the Wireless@SGx configuration set for SIM authentication had already been saved.
Devices that uses a SIM card, will be able to authenticate with the Wireless@SGx network automatically, without having to log in each time they access the free hotspots. They also set up their devices only once. So no more pains trying to remember old passwords and trying to reset them with convoluted SMS requirements.
Using EAP-SIM technology, the new sign-on process makes it much easier to log on to a wireless network. This does not sadly, works on laptops though so they are stuck with the old process.
Android phones without EAP-SIM also need to fall back on the previous method to login. This would mean phones such as the Redmi / Redmi 1S / Redmi Note etc. In order to use Wireless@SGX, they would need to configure via the SSA protocol – refer to my previous post on setting up for more information.
In addition, Windows phones are also not able to authenticate via this protocol.
Previously, users had to either log in each time they are at a hotspot or had to key in a number of settings offered by another one-time login procedure known as Seamless and Secure Access (SSA). The new hotspots will be set up in a number of new areas, including at train stations and popular tourist areas such as Orchard Road and Sentosa. Once again, sounds great on paper but fails in implementation as Wireless@SG had always been a Singaporean only access with the requirements of a +65 number to activate the service. IDA had since updated that tourist access would be available in June 2014 this year, so that’s at least a positive change.
To increase overall wireless coverage, IDA is subsidising small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to set up more public hotspots under the Wireless@SG banner. They can get a one-time subsidy of up to S$2,400 to pay one of four operators here – SingTel, StarHub, M1 or Y5Zone – to set up a network. With it, they can either offer access to customers or use it for their operations, such as connecting up cashier machines or PCs. Not too bad, and good for service industry SMEs. The government regulator did not say how many users were using devices that had SIM cards, and who would benefit from the latest login method, but it believes more users will come onboard with portable devices, compared to laptops in the past.
The folks at IDA also came up with the following intro video, which looks good but don’t think there’s a real need for it anyway – guess it’s part of the marketing budget.
Too often, it has to be said, the issue is not with telecom operators but cafe owners, for example, who don’t bother to check if the network cable is connected or if a modem is turned on. This means users can sometimes detect and log in to a Wi-Fi network but still cannot go online. If such challenges are solved, the much easier automatic login system now should be a boon to regular users. Too bad, it won’t work on my laptop for now.
Nonetheless, with reduced pain in connecting to the service, it would help increase adoption. In addition, with greater data requirements but only the typical 2GB mobile data cap, a on the go WiFi access would definitely come in handy.
Want to know where are the hotspots in town – Wireless@SG Hotspots List