29 April 2017

Wireless@SG makes connecting easier, expands operator pool

Connecting to a Wireless@SG hotspot.
Connecting to a Wireless@SG hotspot.
Wireless@SG, the free nationwide Wi-Fi network will now offer a new login experience and new look for both locals and tourists. By end-year, the current user name and password system will be obsolete.

The news was announced at Tech Saturday (Upsized!), Infocomm Media Development Authority's (IMDA’s) annual technology carnival to mark the start of Smart Nation Innovations week. IMDA took user feedback into consideration to streamline the login experience for Wireless@SG in a way that would not compromise security.

Associate Professor Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore Minister for Communications and Information said on the showfloor that the push to make Wireless@SG more pervasive is essential to help people in Singapore connect to and benefit from the digital economy more easily. “There are a lot of services we can offer from the government but also from the private sector,” he said.

The free Wi-Fi service is extending automatic login to non-SIM devices, a move which will eliminate the need for usernames and passwords. Previously, automatic login to Wireless@SG was available for mobile devices with SIM cards by using the EAP-SIM authentication framework. This login method, which removes the need for usernames and passwords, improves security and allows users to be verified through their SIM cards. SIM device owners would enjoy a seamless automatic connection every time they are near a Wireless@SG hotspot.

From now on users with non-SIM devices – including tablets and laptops – will get to enjoy the same convenience if an enhanced Wireless@SG app is first downloaded. The app will guide owners through a one-time setup that will only require their NRIC/FIN (Singapore ID) and mobile numbers. They will then receive a one -time password (OTP) sent via SMS to complete the setup.

Those who prefer logging in through their browsers every time they need to access Wireless@SG will also find the process more streamlined. They only need to enter their mobile numbers to receive an OTP to complete the login process.

Currently, about 90% of Wireless@SG users already enjoy automatic login using their mobile devices. IMDA expects the enhancements to benefit at least 180,000 users who have been using tablets and laptops to access Wireless@SG.

Wireless@SG is also welcoming broadband service provider MyRepublic as one of the operators offering the free Wi-Fi service. MyRepublic is the fifth addition to the group comprising M1, SingTel, StarHub and Y5ZONE.

“A digital economy needs pervasive connectivity that is fast, reliable and secure, and Wireless@SG is one of the projects that will help IMDA realise this vision. We are pleased to welcome a fifth operator on board, and we expect this would help us to deploy more hotspots more quickly in our effort to expand the Wireless@SG network,” IMDA Chief Executive Tan Kiat How said.

"Access to fast, reliable public Wi-Fi is essential to Singapore's progress as a Smart Nation. We are excited to be appointed a Wireless@SG operator and look forward to working with IMDA to deploy and improve Wireless@SG hotspots across Singapore," MyRepublic Singapore MD Yap Yong Teck said.

Wireless@SG was launched in December 2006 with 900 hotspots running at a max speed of 512kbps. Today, there are 10,000 hotspots running at 5Mbps, and these hotspots can be found in public spaces like train stations, libraries, shopping malls and restaurants. Venue owners have been asked to ensure that the estimated number of visitors they receive will each be able to enjoy 5Mbps of bandwidth, which would be enough connectivity to use email, WhatsApp or watch a YouTube video.

IMDA is on track to double its network of hotspots to 20,000 by 2018, reaching more locations such as public hospitals, hawker centres and government service centres.


Download the Wireless@SG app to have devices configured to connect automatically to the Wireless@SGx network. The Wireless@SGx network is more secure as it uses industry-based authentication and security standards such as IEEE 802.1x and Wi-Fi Alliance. Data sent over Wireless@SGx network is also encrypted. In addition, Wireless@SGx allows users to log in automatically after an initial one-time setup, whereas Wireless@SG requires users to log in via a browser every time a connection is established. Existing user names and passwords will continue to work but will gradually be phased out.

Watch the Instavideo on the new one-time password login method for Wireless@SG

Tech Saturday (Upsized!) will run until 30 April 2017, 11am to 7pm. Drinks and treats are available for attendees. Smart Nations Innovations Week continues with innovfest unbound on 3 and 4 May

Hashtag: #techsaturday

Editor's note: I have had problems in past years with Wireless@SG prior to this - both in remembering my user name and password in the first place, and in getting a useable Wi-Fi connection thereafter. Trying out the new OTP system was painless and I was able to use Wi-Fi for Instagram on a phone which did not have a SIM card inside it.

posted from Bloggeroid