A press release recently came in announcing a tie-up between Wi-Fi aggregator WeRoam and Devicescape, which develops software that makes it easier for devices to log onto hotspots.

What wasn't quite clear though was whether this was Devicescape customers getting access to WeRoam's network, or WeRoam customers getting access to Devicescape's software. So I queried the two companies - and got even more confused, as both said they didn't sell subscriptions directly and therefore didn't have customers as such, yet seemed to think that the other did exactly that.

Fortunately, it took a few days, but it all got sorted out in the end: WeRoam is an aggregator and supplies roaming Wi-Fi access to service providers such as Orange. Provided you have an account with one of WeRoam's clients, you can use it to log on to other hotspots in the WeRoam network.

Devicescape meanwhile does software - most notably for smartphones - that bypasses the need to go through all that tedious typing in of credentials every time you want to use a hotspot. Enter your credentials on its website and install its software, and it logs in for you. It even works on devices without a web browser, such as certain IP phones.

The confusion shows just how mixed up the ecology of roaming Wi-Fi has become, however. We now have hotspot operators, service providers, service aggregators, access providers, access enablers and heaven knows what else. They're not distinct either, as some companies may fulfil two or more of those roles.

I guess it means that companies have to be even more careful about how they explain things - especially the instructions and access details that they give us poor confused users.

And that means jobs for people who really understand not just ergonomics and user-interfaces, but who also understand how the Wi-Fi ecology works.