Archive for the ‘Wi-Fi’ Category

Carrier Strategies: The Impact of Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi)

This guest post was written by Arvind Rangarajan, Director, Vertical Solutions & Market Offers, Broadsoft

Arvind Rangarajan, Director, Vertical Solutions & Market Offers, Broadsoft

Arvind Rangarajan, Director, Vertical Solutions & Market Offers, Broadsoft

Carrier Challenges

The sheer number of Wi-Fi connected devices is growing at a phenomenal rate, and Wi-Fi is fast becoming the preferred method of connection – at least two thirds of consumers today prefer connecting over Wi-Fi as opposed to cellular, mostly due to cost and performance.

Mobile operators have been increasingly turning to Wi-Fi offloading as a cost-effective way to manage data capacity, and that trend continues. Many analysts are forecasting a steady annual increase in carrier hotspots to more than 7 million by the end of 2015. (Source: ABI Research)

However, data offload is just the tip of the iceberg. The real reason many carriers are out there securing hotspot locations and launching services is competition for new revenue opportunities, from both incumbents and “over-the-top” (OTT) players alike.

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Bringing LTE Indoors

Andrew Mackay, Manager Mobile Solutions, Cisco Systems

Andrew Mackay, Manager Mobile Solutions, Cisco Systems

This post is by Andrew Mackay, Manager Mobile Solutions, Cisco Systems

As LTE networks continue to be deployed, it is becoming evident that matching the existing 3G coverage quality is going to be a challenge. This is reminiscent of the early days of 3G, when it took many years to get coverage matching underlying GSM. The higher carrier frequency (2.1GHz) and partial initial overlays left deep indoor coverage with “cold spots.”  This resulted in unreliable calls and increased battery consumption, which led many users to disable 3G out of frustration.  Over time, operators invested in more infill Broadband Telephony Services (BTS), wider use of In-building Systems (IBS) and repeaters, but indoor coverage was only really resolved when 3G on 850/900 MHz was deployed as a coverage “safety net.”

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LTE Is Not the Answer – But Wi-Fi Might Be

Jim Machi, Dialogic

Jim Machi, vice president of product management for Dialogic

By Jim Machi, vice president of product management for Dialogic, where he is responsible for driving the overall roadmap and product strategy.

Right now, LTE is in its heyday. Carriers are doing all they can to expand coverage and improve speeds, and those lucky enough to be using it probably experience great service. But as mobile data use increases, that honeymoon period will end as networks get clogged and overloaded.

As that happens, Wi-Fi networks will become an increasingly important way for carriers to improve coverage and capacity. This is opening new opportunities not only for pure-play Wi-Fi providers, but also for mobile network operators (MNOs) implementing complementary Wi-Fi networks as a means to expand coverage, decrease the cost per delivered bit and ease congestion on strained spectrum and backhaul resources.

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Is Samsung leading the way for LTE handset technology?

The ‘gadgetosphere’*, the fetishist tech blogs and sites obsessed with the minutiae of the latest hardware, have been fairly harsh on the Samsung Galaxy S5. While Apple has previously the one to take flack for failing to reinvent the smartphone wheel, as it used to seem to do so effortlessly, it’s now Samsung that is getting grief.

Its latest flagship phone, the S5, is bigger, fatter, heavier and just too sameier* compared to the Galaxy S4, which itself wasn’t that much of a leap compared to the S3. Oh noes.

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MWC Day Two – Innovations on Show

Cloudy with a Chance of Cost Savings

The second day of MWC proved to be another full-on day of hall walking and meetings, and innovation was on show aplenty.

That’s certainly true of Israeli VAS company CallUp. This small operation has just 25 employees but sells its products to operators all around the world, from LATAM to India. Its CEO Aron Roth explained to me how its CanVAS product can bring the value back for operators into services such as SMS and voicemail, which for those that are focussing on LTE are products that no longer really revenue generators,  but still have to be offered. The answer is the cloud. CanVAS offers these things via a cloud-based system, thus stripping out the high OPEX costs that carriers would otherwise face for these low revenue generating services. Interestingly Callup itself hosts these offerings on AWS – Amazon’s cloud services. So it’s a cloud service, built on top of a cloud service, which is kinda cool.

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Interview: Senior Manager Antenna Solutions Group, AT&T: “Small cells offer operators a system that is potentially more cost effective than other solutions.”

Jim Parker, Senior Manager Antenna Solutions Group, AT&T

Jim Parker, Senior Manager Antenna Solutions Group, AT&T

Jim Parker, Senior Manager Antenna Solutions Group, AT&T is speaking on the subject of, “Challenges of deploying high density venues: From DAS to 4G”, in the HetNets track on Day One of the The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Ahead of the show we speak to him about the AT&T Antenna group and its focus for the next year.

What is the core function of the AT&T Antenna solutions group?

In order to provide our customers with the best mobile broadband experience, AT&T established the Antenna Solutions Group (ASG) in order to extend the capabilities of our macro network in large public venues. ASG deploys a wide range of technologies including: neutral-host Distributed Antenna System (DAS), small cells, and Wi-Fi. Neutral host DAS and small cells provide a coverage and capacity solution for cellular voice and data traffic. In venues where Wi-Fi is deployed, it is primarily a data-only solution that can be used to offload traffic from the macro network.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

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Interview: Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas: “The spectrum crunch is a critical issue in the U.S.”

Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas

Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas

Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas is delivering a keynote address on the subject of “Challenges to LTE Progress”, on Day One of the LTE North America conference, taking place on November 21-22 2013, Westin Galleria, Dallas, Texas. Ahead of the show we speak to him about the successes and challenges in the US LTE market.

We’ve been talking about the massive increase in demand for data for a long while. How do you say the carriers are doing dealing with that?

The operators are doing a great job in trying to manage the robust demand for mobile data. The four national carriers in the North American market—AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint—are investing billions of dollars each year to increase network capacity and efficiency. While there are still significant challenges in attaining more spectrum to meeting the robust demand the operators are making tremendous progress in their LTE network coverage. This is exemplified by AT&T expecting LTE to reach 270 million POPS and T-Mobile expecting to reach 205 million POPS by the end of 2013.

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Managing the interaction between 2G, 3G and LTE within Heterogeneous Networks

Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix

Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix

This post is by Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix.

As networks become increasingly complex and demands from subscribers soar, mobile operators face common issues when they lack a reliable, consistent and accurate view of the network. 

Mobile data services are undergoing tremendous growth. As a result operators are busily knitting together a Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) of access technologies from cellular towers, rooftop antennas, metrocells, femtocells, and Wi-Fi to Distributed Antenna Systems. This development is being driven by subscriber demand for consistent wireless broadband coverage and capacity, with the result that the mobile network is moving increasingly ‘closer’ to the consumer.

LTE offers a step change in mobile data performance, setting new expectations for customer experience. LTE will increase interaction with the network, increasing the demand for mobile multimedia services – online television, video streaming, social networking, and interactive gaming.

Considering the huge variations in performance, range and capacity between different access technologies and spectrum bands, operators will need to carefully control the interactions to provide a consistent subscriber experience. Simply put: customer experience in HetNets will be defined by the poorest network performance the subscriber typically receives during normal day to day usage.

If operators get this wrong, subscribers could experience catastrophic drop-offs when handed over from relatively under-utilised LTE networks to congested 3G/2G networks.  Similarly as subscribers leave Wi-Fi or small cell hotspots and re-join macro networks speed bumps will impact the always connected data experience new services rely on.

All of this requires operators to get the initial coverage mix right and ensure handovers and interactions occur at the right places at the right time. Critical to this is an understanding of how subscribers and data traffic flow across the network and the geography. This type of information can be obtained from systems that deliver increased network and subscriber intelligence. Software platforms such as ActixOne are designed to deliver real-time geo-located subscriber insights to drive everything from long term planning through to optimisation and SON.

This intelligence then enables the operator to shape and manage bandwidth to deliver the required quality of service, improving and optimising network efficiency so that the transition across the HetNet is a smooth, invisible and painless experience for the subscriber.

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