The ANQP communicates metadata useful in a mobile device's network selection process including the AP operator's domain name, the IP addresses (Internet Protocol addresses) available at the AP, and information about potential roaming partners accessible through the AP.
When a subscriber queries an AP using the ANQP, that user receives a list of items that describe the services available, without having to commit to a network. In addition to the above-mentioned items, these elements can include:
- Capabilities of the network(s) being accessed.
- Venues associated with the AP.
- Authentication types required by or available with the AP.
- Network Address Identifier (NAI) realms accessible through the AP.
- Information about 3G (third-generation mobile telephony) cellular networks available through the AP.
- Emergency Alert System (EAS) message Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs).
- Emergency calling instructions (telephone numbers, for example).
- The geospatial and civic locations of the AP.
The ANQP forms the basis for 802.11u, an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 set of protocols for wireless local area network (WLAN) operation. Published in February 2011, the 802.11u standard provides for connection to external networks using common wireless devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs. One of the most notable applications of 802.11u is the emerging standard called Hot Spot 2.0 (HS 2.0) for public-access Wi-Fi.