Brazilian telecommunications provider Oi is preparing to commercialize a technology that North American MSOs have been only talking about so far: the ability to partition residential Wi-Fi routers to use some of the bandwidth for public mobile access.

Aptilo Networks noted that Oi is using its Service Management Platform to enable Oi to offer the Wi-Fi service with mobile data offloading for Oi’s fixed broadband and mobile customers.

Homes and small-to-medium businesses share Oi’s copper xDSL network and have Wi-Fi-capable routers.

The method is to provision both residential and business Wi-Fi routers with an additional SSID. The service provider then reserves use of this second SSID for its public Wi-Fi service, tapping router bandwidth when it is otherwise not being used.

Oi is doing this to create a huge Wi-Fi footprint. It can automatically, through the SIM authentication in the Aptilo Service Management Platform, offload mobile data traffic to its xDSL pipeline from anywhere in the country.

The Aptilo system, which delivers Wi-Fi services to outdoor and indoor locations through multiple access point (AP) vendors, consolidates the functionality in Oi’s two existing Wi-Fi service management systems. Aptilo’s solution will also be able to support Oi’s future requirements and a rapid Wi-Fi expansion. 

“Aptilo Service Management Platform supports all the business models that were being used under the two existing systems we had, and positions us well for future requirements,” said Abel Camargo, Oi’s business development director. “What made our choice easy when consolidating all our Wi-Fi services into one platform was Aptilo’s ability to fit into our existing back-end architecture and their support for multiple Wi-Fi AP vendors.”  

Aptilo’s wireless service management platform was easily integrated into Oi’s mobile and fixed broadband core, with SIM authentication and policy lookups conducted using SOAP/XML. Options for EAP/SIM authentication, MAC address and WISPr authentication all for the same user are enabled; the network intelligently selects the best authentication method available.

Oi is the second-largest telecom operator in Latin America and the largest in Brazil, after the acquisition of Brasil Telecom in early 2009