Incorrect Identification of Non-iPass Hotspots

An SSID displayed with an iPass logo normally indicates that the hotspot is part of the iPass network. However, this is not always true. In some cases, the iPass logo is displayed because the hotspot has been falsely identified as part of the iPass network. In such cases, a connection attempt will fail.

Wi-Fi Network Identifiers

Because of the limitations of Wi-Fi technology, only a few network identifiers are broadcast locally for iPassConnect and Open Mobile to read and those are security type, MAC address, and network name (SSID):

  • For nearly all public hotspots, the security type is Open, so security type is not helpful in determining a hotspot is part of the iPass network.
  • Hotspot MAC address information is not provided to iPass, and further, is subject to change at any time (as equipment is replaced or re-provisioned). Even if accurate information on hotspot MAC addresses were provided to iPass, with over half a million Wi-Fi hotspots supported (and many hotspots possessing dozens of distinct MAC addresses), it would be nearly impossible for iPass to keep such information current in each individual client.
  • This leaves the network name (SSID) as the only useful identifier to determine whether the hotspot is provided by an iPass network provider. In the huge majority of cases, SSID is indeed enough to provide accurate identification, and users can trust that the location is indeed part of the iPass service.

False Identification Scenarios

There are a few situations where hotspots may be falsely identified as iPass hotspots.

Partial Network Footprint

In some cases, a provider will only provide a portion, but not all, of their network footprint to iPass, while using the same SSID for all of their locations. As a result, locations that are not provided to iPass would be falsely identified as iPass hotspots.

iPass makes every attempt to include a provider’s entire footprint in its network to prevent such false identifications, but sometimes 100% coverage is not possible. In some cases, iPass has even chosen not to add the provider to its network to avoid false identifications. Only when a provider has critical high-volume locations that iPass customers have deemed as very important to them has such a partial footprint been added.

Temporary Access Change

Sometimes a venue that includes regular iPass hotspots will temporarily change its Wi-Fi access for a specific event, which can cause confusion with new, temporary access changes. For example, a hotel hosting an event may ask all participants to use a special password for wireless access during the duration of the event. During that time, the iPass hotspot may not be available by normal authentication, which will make it unavailable to iPass users. This is usually a venue-specific (and temporary) behavior that iPass cannot influence.


A user may come across a network that just happens to have the same SSID as one of those in the iPass directory. This is rare, but can happen.


The following provisions will be helpful to prevent connection failures to Wi-Fi hotspots.

User Education

User education is key. When orienting new users on the iPass service, it is important to mention the potential situation, and instruct them that they may have to choose an alternate hotspot or even connection type (such as Mobile Broadband) to complete their connection.

Open Mobile Alternate Connection

If Open Mobile for Windows fails to authenticate to an iPass hotspot, it will attempt to connect the user as a non-iPass one. As a result, the user will still have a chance to connect to a local network, even if this is not an iPass network.

Open Mobile PPR Feature

For Open Mobile for Windows 1.4.1 clients and later, the Prohibit, Prefer, or Rename (PPR) feature provides granular management for problematic networks. Specific networks can be annotated so that users can see additional information about them, or can even be prevented from displaying altogether. PPR works at the profile level, so all users with a given Open Mobile profile will be affected by the PPR settings.

Open Mobile 1.4.1 for Windows customers who encounter a network name that produces a false identification as an iPass network can use the PPR fixture to assist users who are attempting to connect to the network.

For example, an annotation could be created to clarify an SSID to users, such as: “Not all locations with this name are iPass hotspot locations.”

Alternatively, in the case where the access for a network has been temporarily changed, such as at a hotel venue, the network could be temporarily excluded (prohibited) from the Available Networks list for all users of the Open Mobile profile.

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