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The State of Wi-Fi

By Lisa Garza, Cisco Service Provider Mobility Marketing Manager

Anyone involved in burgeoning Wi-Fi hotspot network industry realizes that there has been a dearth of solid market information available.  Well, that all changed this week as the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) released a joint report with Informa Global Developments in Public Wi-Fi at their 20th Roundtable and Conference in Singapore.

Check out this WBA report on Global Developments in Public Wi-Fi. To view the complete report, please click here:

The research shows that almost half (47%) of mobile operators now think Wi-Fi is either very important or essential to their customers’ experience. The research also found that operators are planning a massive increase in Wi-Fi hotspot deployments – hotspots are set to rocket with a 350% increase by 2015.

The report confirms the Cisco VNI numbers, showing that mobile data is continuing its massive growth across the globe.  The WBA Public Wi-Fi report predicts that mobile data traffic will hit 16.84 million terabytes by 2014. Operators are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi as a trusted extension to both fixed and mobile networks for offering their customers a seamless Internet experience.

And the report underscores the importance of the Next Generation Hotspot work that the WBA has underway.  The report includes an industry survey that highlights seamless authentication, ease of network discovery and security as the most significant barriers to wider adoption of Wi-Fi.  In June I wrote a blog about the WBA launch of the Next Generation Hotspot trials. This week, at the WBA 20th Conference in Singapore, we learned that the trials are well underway and are scheduled to complete on time.  In fact, Shaw Communications recently announced plans to deploy Next Generation Hotspot in a trial, using Cisco’s Service Provider Wi-Fi solution.

Stay tuned to this space.  The WBA intends to release this Wi-Fi Industry report on a regular basis, and 2012 promises to be the year where we’ll see these barriers fall.

Meanwhile, for those of you curious to learn more about the following, check out this webcast on What is WBA Next Generation Hotspot Anyway?:

  • The future of Service Provider Wi-Fi networks
  • WFA Hotspot 2.0 Specification
  • WBA Next Generation Roaming Trials
  • How Hotspot 2.0 will open up new revenue opportunities for service providers


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Shaw Chooses Cisco to Trial HotSpot 2.0

Hockey, bacon, and Neil Young – some of the best things in life do indeed come from Canada.  (Actually I think those of the swine persuasion may disagree on the bacon.)  Once again our neighbors to the north are leading the way with next-generation mobile broadband.

As announced yesterday,  Shaw Communications will conduct a technical trial of HotSpot 2.0 using Cisco’s Service Provider Wi-Fi solution. Read More »

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5 Ways to Securely Use Free Wi-Fi

Public Internet connections are convenient but potentially risky if you don’t take a few precautions.

Walk into any coffee shop or hotel lobby and you’ll witness one of the most obvious signs of our times: People of all ages and vocations browsing the web and checking email from their smartphones or laptops. If you get close enough to see what’s on their screens, you might even see some of these road warriors accessing business applications in the cloud, such as a salesperson checking into their customer relationship management (CRM) database or preparing for a meeting in an online collaboration space. But you have to wonder: how secure is that connection?

Before you give your employees the go-ahead to work outside the office, make sure they know how to securely log in to your small business network from Wi-Fi hotspots. Otherwise, any information they transmit could be up for grabs, from their email password to credit card numbers to confidential business data. After all, a public hotspot is essentially a network for unknown and risky computers, and you never know who may be lurking online to capture your critical data.

Read More »

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Cisco announces new “teleworker” wireless solutions – working from home just got a whole lot easier

When Cisco conducted an industry survey a few months back, the research revealed that 61% of employees believe they don’t need to be in an office to be productive – and two-thirds of employees place a higher value on workplace flexibility than salary. Attitudes toward working remotely have certainly shifted over recent years, as working from home is no longer seen as a privilege – it’s expected.

But for just about any employee who has ever needed to work from home, getting a home office wireless network up and running can be time consuming, even if you already have an existing home network. By the time you change network profiles, start VPN clients, and deal with security concerns, not to mention time spent on the phone with the corporate IT helpdesk, you can easily spend a good chunk of your day setting up and configuring your wireless network.

But once again, Cisco can help.

Cisco announced today new OfficeExtend wireless solutions designed toward making the whole teleworking process painless for both the remote worker and the IT manager back at the corporate office. With the new OfficeExtend wireless solutions from Cisco, not only can you have home network profiles for personal use, but as an additional feature, the very same corporate WLAN profiles and security that you using at the office can now be replicated at home.  And better yet, the new wireless solutions require no intervention from end users by allowing IT departments to remotely manage home access points alongside the rest of their corporate infrastructure.   Read More »

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