Small Cells Featured Article
Integration of Wi-Fi, Small Cells Explored for Greater Access
November 13, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The integration of Wi-Fi hotspots and licensed small cells is soon to get a boost as the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and the Small Cell Forum announced plans to work together on this initiative. As telecom operators continue to deploy technologies in both public Wi-Fi and small cells, the best time to examine how the two can work together for the greater good is now.
A recent Cellular News report highlighted the announcement that the two organizations plan to cooperate on a variety of initiatives that include measuring the impact small cells have on the WBA, GSMA’s (News - Alert) effort to streamline access to Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) and the best practices for optimizing the user experience. Deployment strategies for joint hotspots will also be examined.
Progress in this area is already being seen as the need for usernames and passwords to access public Wi-Fi has already been removed. New trials are already underway for major operators throughout the global market, with new hotspots and subsequent deployments expected in the near future.
To a greater extent, these organizations will also examine the integration of small cells and Wi-Fi on the network level, which could enable support for cellular services via Wi-Fi. Services such as voice and SMS, advanced traffic management and smart offloading features over radio to improve the user experience will also be explored as possibilities.
JR Wilson, chairman of the Wireless Broadband Alliance said, "This agreement builds a bridge between the Wi-Fi and cellular worlds. Our two organizations bring together the key fixed, mobile and Wi-Fi operator and vendor players. Furthermore, we both enjoy close relationships with the respective standards bodies - the Wi-Fi Alliance (News - Alert), IEEE and 3GPP. This means we have the clout to turn the vision of integrating Wi-Fi hotspots and small cells into a reality.”
“The NGH program will now encompass the advances that emerge from this new cooperation paving the way for a truly converged future. Customers will benefit from a highly dependable, easy to use, seamless service across many different network technologies," added Wilson.
In the telecommunications industry, it’s clear that the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and mobile data applications is creating capacity challenges for wireless networks. As operators buckle under the strain and associated costs to add capacity and improve coverage, new possibilities are consistently being explored. Even as small cells offer a solution and are readily available, there are still cost, flexibility and even line-of-sight challenges that can limit rapid deployment.
To that end, Taqua offers its W-Series of Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Backhaul Systems to deliver the connectivity needed within the vendor small cells. Using standard Ethernet, each small cell site is readily connected to a Taqua (News - Alert) Remote Backhaul Module, leveraging unpaired spectrum to provide the link between the connections. Using this method, hundreds of clusters can be deployed as a single network and managed through a single user interface.
The growth in demand for access to mobile solutions is not going to wane anytime soon, forcing operators to take a closer look at their options if they hope to stay in business and drive revenue. This latest announcement from the WBA and the Small Cell Forum, along with innovations from Taqua, put the industry on the right path to embrace continued mobility.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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