Faster device launches, reduced device install times and cross-platform compatibility are a few of the benefits mobile operators and device manufacturers can experience when incorporating the mobile broadband interface model on their devices. Microsoft has adopted the standard in all of their Windows 8 devices and although we are now seeing evidence of these benefits in the market, the industry has a long way to go.
Network operators are well aware that today’s users expect seamless network access and a consistent, quality experience across their devices and applications. Therefore, operators are faced with two key challenges: ensuring data coverage for their customers and improving network data capacity to ensure delivery of data services at the speed customers need for quality service.
I recently attended the Wi-Fi Global Congress, a conference in London put on by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA). The focus was promoting and enabling carrier-grade Wi-Fi that is secure, seamless, and interoperable between networks. It was clear from the conference program, and the large number of wireless service and equipment providers in attendance, that Wi-Fi remains a highly relevant, complementary extension to cellular networks and an important part of the mobile broadband experience. However, many challenges remain with Wi-Fi, including seamless handover between 3G/4G and Wi-Fi, subscriber management, policy enforcement, session mobility, and more.
The latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecasts a 13-fold increase of mobile data traffic between 2012 and 2017. The report also predicts a significant increase in data offload to Wi-Fi as operators deal with the network stress associated with this traffic.
Hotspot 2.0 promises to make connecting to Wi-Fi networks from your smartphone as simple and transparent as making a cellular call. Developed under the auspices of the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA), the goal of Hotspot 2.0 is to remove the cumbersome barriers commonly associated with Wi-Fi connection by completely automating network discovery, authentication, and roaming functions.