Cellular and Wi-Fi: a match made in heaven?

Cellular and Wi-Fi: a match made in heaven?

Cellular and Wi-Fi: a match made in heaven?

Technical discussion on the future integration of cellular and Wi-Fi networks

03/28/2012 | 25 pages
Price: $1,495.00

Technical discussion on the future integration of cellular and Wi-Fi networks

During the last couple of years, mobile operators have outright embraced Wi-Fi, considering it a key access technology under their umbrella of access networks. The challenge remains solving many of the network-related issues which currently diminish the potential effectiveness of Wi-Fi and which degrade the user experience.

Work in the various standards bodies has helped in this regard, and some of their efforts will soon materialize in commercial networks. HotSpot 2.0, for example, supports more advanced authentication schemes and it enables the automatic discovery of Wi-Fi Networks. However, HotSpot 2.0 is better suited for pure-play Wi-Fi operators than it is for cellular operators who want to offer an integrated Wi- Fi offering.

Starting with Release 6, the 3GPP supported the concept of I-WLAN, which introduced new network elements specifically designed to provide closer integration of the two networks. Although the commercialization of I-WLAN hasn’t really taken off – in part due to some important limitations, it did set the stage for the tighter integration of Wi-Fi in the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network that comes with LTE.

This effort also set the stage for additional work in Release 10 and subsequent releases to allow operators to make better use of Wi-Fi and to provide an even more compelling [and entirely seamless] user experience when roaming between 3GPP and Wi-Fi networks. Important features as well as a more advanced policy control architecture with ANDSF will allow operators to leverage the most appropriate network(s) for a given set of policies.