By Nick Cadwgan, Carrier Wi-Fi Marketing Lead, Alcatel-Lucent
Wi-Fi® is hot right now and there’s no mistake that telecom operators are aggressively looking to make it a key component of their offerings.
Operators are turning their attention to Wi-Fi technologies for both a competitive advantage and revenue generation as part of their mobile broadband strategies. They are contemplating community Wi-Fi, venue coverage and extended hotspot strategies — each of which has unique business implications — to meet objectives. By integrating Wi-Fi with their cellular network, mobile and converged operators can provide subscribers with secure and trusted connectivity across Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular networks for a seamless mobile broadband experience.
This is such a hot topic that Light Reading has asked me to participate in a Webinar moderated by Heavy Reading’s Gabriel Brown on May 14th at 12 noon ET.
The Carrier Wi-Fi opportunity
Wi-Fi is already part of our everyday life, and its use continues to rise. There are very few new devices coming to the market that do not feature integrated Wi-Fi. According to the Wireless Broadband Alliance, figures for 2011 put the total number of Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide at 1.3 million. That number is forecast to grow 350% to 5.8 million by 2015. The fact that 70% of consumers are in Wi-Fi coverage more than 70% of the time during the day shows the great potential of Wi-Fi.
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However Carrier Wi-Fi is not Enterprise Wi-Fi (learn more by going to our Carrier Wi-Fi information center).
To fully reap the benefits of Carrier Wi-Fi, operators will have to deploy a high-performance carrier grade platform that is scalable and designed to support the demands of the multiple Wi-Fi sources from which subscribers are accessing the network.
Carrier Wi-Fi has moved from a convenient option to an integral component of operator’s mobile broadband strategies.
Globally we are seeing fixed, Mobile and Converged operators investigating, planning and now deploying Carrier Wi-Fi solutions. They are moving quickly to take advantage of Carrier Wi-Fi within their overall mobile broadband strategy to keep their customers connected to their favorite services such as social networking, web browsing, shopping, payTV or online video.
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It is apparent that to address the range of Carrier Wi-Fi market applications, Wi-Fi access infrastructure from a range of vendors will be required to meet operators’ business and application requirements. Operators are also aware that they need a common Carrier Wi-Fi core infrastructure to support these market applications. This drives new requirements and focus around key elements such as the WLAN gateway. Operator strategies combined with ongoing Wi-Fi usage, demand carrier grade infrastructure and systems to deliver a simple, secure, seamless user experience.
The way Carrier Wi-Fi will be utilized will depend on the operator’s business priorities. For example, cable operators (MSOs) are leading the way with Carrier Wi-Fi as a competitive strategy versus Mobile operators who are looking at it to improve their overall customer experience.
Want to learn more then join me at the Light Reading Webinar.