Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Commercial Wi-Fi comes of age as operators trial new deployment strategies

USA: Stoke's newly-available Wi-Fi eXchange gateway is engaged in multiple commercial service trials uncovering new ways for telecom operators to incorporate Wi-Fi as a revenue-supporting service. In a single unit, Wi-Fi eXchange introduces a broad set of extremely flexible Wi-Fi management capabilities previously unavailable to mobile broadband carriers.

"Operators are exploring ways to enhance their return on investment by incorporating secure and seamless Wi-Fi into well-crafted business strategies," said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. " Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint addresses numerous opportunities to deliver a seamless and secure Wi-Fi experience, and our members continue to build on that foundation. The options now being explored by service providers in conjunction with companies like Stoke demonstrate terrific momentum towards pervasive Wi-Fi from service operators."

Wi-Fi Alliance has been instrumental in driving the evolution of Wi-Fi strategies, providing a forum for Wi-Fi operators, equipment providers and hardware manufacturers to develop industry-wide standards and programs which are critical to mass market adoption.  The Passpoint certification program, launched in June 2012, has already seen significant industry adoption.

Broadband carriers' strategies vary widely according to the specific drivers and objectives of each organization. Until now, for want of widely applicable, carrier-grade Wi-Fi technology solutions, operators have been forced either to cobble together compromise solutions or to delay implementation.

Since announcing commercial availability in November, 2012, Stoke's Wi-Fi eXchange has been in high demand with wholesale Wi-Fi, fixed line and cellular operators for trials leveraging the platform's ability to leapfrog previous technology challenges.

Wi-Fi eXchange offers an extensive feature set, including multi-vendor core and radio equipment interoperability, broad network topology support, and carrier-grade performance.

"Stoke's benefit to operators in these use cases is in delivering flexibility and efficiency in operations for both access and core networks.  For example, operators can terminate both Layer 2 and Layer 3 connected Wi-Fi access networks, as well as access points from different manufacturers, on Wi-Fi eXchange where they needed several gateways before," explained John Carvalho, VP, Wireless Architecture, at Stoke.

"In addition, on the core side Wi-Fi eXchange enables operators to selectively apply GGSN-based business processes to Wi-Fi subscriber sessions while the rest is directed – at least cost – to the Internet. For example we're demonstrating how operators can use Wi-Fi to recapture roaming revenues lost to Wi-Fi ISPs, without requiring major disruptions to the mobile core infrastructure," added Carvalho. "We are extremely pleased with the performance of the Wi-Fi eXchange in widely differing scenarios."

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