Advertisement
Product Releases
Advertisement

Cisco preps next-gen Wi-Fi hotspots

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 4:00pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Cisco took aim at the burgeoning small cell market with a new generation of hotspots that will bring a cellular-type roaming experience to Wi-Fi.

A growing number of wireless operators are turning to Wi-Fi hotspots to shift data traffic off congested cellular networks, which are straining under the burden of bandwidth-intensive content like streaming video.

Cisco is working with AT&T, Shaw Communications and a number of other operators on next-generation Wi-Fi hotspots that automatically connect devices without users having to manually enter usernames or passwords.

"We are now entering the post-macrocell era, where small cells also will play a critical role in delivering the next-generation mobile Internet," Cisco CEO John Chambers said.

The technology, developed by the Wireless Broadband Alliance, will simplify Wi-Fi offload by overcoming barriers to subscribers' use of the alternate source of connectivity. Global data traffic from smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices is expected to see an 18-fold increase between 2011 and 2016, according to recent estimates from Cisco.

Cisco says it will be able to switch the "majority" of its estimated 12 million live Wi-Fi access points to the new standard, but it did not set any hard dates for the upgrade. It has also come out with a new network gateway to help operators integrate licensed cellular services like LTE with unlicensed Wi-Fi networks.

AT&T has been a frontrunner with both femtocells and Wi-Fi offload as it works to cope with the massive data demands of the iPhone, which it offered exclusively for three-and-a-half years beginning in 2007. The operator signed up for Cisco's femtocell platform in 2009 and now says it has the world's largest small cell network.

"AT&T recognizes and appreciates the value small cells deliver to our network, and more importantly to our customers' wireless experiences," said Kris Rinne, AT&T's senior vice president of architecture and planning.

Rinne and other Cisco customers appeared on a panel at Mobile World Congress to discuss small cell deployments. Executives from Shaw Communications and Orange Group also participated in the panel, which was moderated by Chambers.

Advertisement

Share This Story

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading