Facebook Expanding Express Wi-Fi With New Partner Ecosystem Program

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Facebook is going on the next step with its Express Wi-Fi initiative where they announced a new program called Express Wi-Fi Certified.

Express Wi-Fi Certified will allow manufacturers build Wi-Fi hardware that is compatible with Express Wi-Fi, which would make Facebook realize its goal to connect even more people.

“We developed the Express Wi-Fi Certified program to address access point limitation issues in the field with operators and entrepreneurs,” Facebook said. “In addition to these partnerships, we started working closely with manufacturers to build better Wi-Fi access points.”

In order for the Express Wi-Fi software to work, the Express Wi-Fi Certified access point should be able to authenticate people who want to use the hotspot and account for the Wi-Fi data they use.

Since processing occurs locally at the access point, operator partners would require fewer central servers to handle the authentication and accounting requests. This is critical since for communities with limited connectivity, this move would save time and data and require less work from Facebook’s partners as they deploy more access points.

With the Express Wi-Fi Certified program, Facebook is starting with Arista, Camblum Networks and Ruckus Networks as their initial Certified partners.

Facebook started testing Express Wi-Fi in 2015 where the goal was to enable local entrepreneurs, ISPs and mobile network operators to offer fast, affordable Internet access to communities around the world.

Currently Express Wi-Fi is available with 10 partners in five countries — Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, India and Indonesia. In Kenya, Express Wi-Fi was launched in Ongata Rongai first in March 2017 and still offers low cost bundles to populations near the hotspots in various towns in the coutnry.

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