According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, more than three billion Wi-Fi-enabled devices will ship in 2017 joining more than eight billion devices already in use. What does this mean for communication service providers? Getting Wi-Fi right has never been more critical. From winning the war for relevance inside and outside the home to combating subscriber churn in an increasingly competitive and diverse marketplace, Wi-Fi is paramount.
During a recent webinar, we discussed the benefits of device-based monitoring at length with industry analyst Dan O’Shea from Heavy Reading. The situation is this: traditional network monitoring techniques, which measure performance at the network access point (AP), fail to provide the visibility communication service providers (CSPs) require to effectively manage Quality of Experience (QoE) on Wi-Fi networks. As Wi-Fi now comprises a majority of mobile users’ connected experience, it is vital for CSPs to utilize tools designed to measure and manage QoE on these unlicensed networks.
With the U.S. cable industry boasting nearly 17 million Wi-Fi hotspots, iPass offering almost 60 million hotspots globally and the total number of Wi-Fi access points expected to surpass 430 million by 2020, it certainly seems that Wi-Fi networks are everywhere.
You know a technology has reached ubiquity when it has invaded salutations and conversation in our professional and personal lives: “Hi, so nice to see you, thanks for having me… what’s your Wi-Fi password?”
Earlier this week while on LinkedIn I saw the image to the right, and I started to think about how true this is. In today’s world being connected is a part of the basic human need. We need to be able to check email, surf the internet, connect with friends and family, and most importantly, check into our favorite restaurants. We have become so reliant on these connections that we don’t appreciate the complex device and network technologies required to get connected and stay connected.
2013 marked a rapid increase in interest to improve cellular to Wi-Fi interoperability – not just from mobile operators, but also from cable operators, fixed line operators and enterprises. The interest is truly global as organizations in every region are developing strategies to leverage Wi-Fi for a variety of reasons, including network congestion relief, improved in-building coverage, and ability to offer lower cost wireless service plans. However, in order to achieve truly seamless interoperability across heterogeneous networks from any provider, the industry needs to resolve challenges associated with connectivity, authentication, session persistence and traffic management. This is the objective of several emerging industry standards, including a set being developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) known as Access Network Discovery and Selection Function, or ANDSF.