I recently had the honor to speak at the Wi-Fi Global Congress in Beijing. As evident by the more than 400 people in attendance, the importance and relevance of Wi-Fi continues to grow. The Wireless Broadband Alliance now has over 100 members, a doubling in less than 2 years. The membership includes a mix of leading Wi-Fi, mobile, and broadband network operators; global service providers and media players; as well as technology providers and partners.
I took away six key messages from this exciting conference:
- Next Generation Hotspots is Alive and Well. One of the most exciting things at the conference was the launch of the live NGH Experience with China Mobile as the host operator and Cisco as the network infrastructure provider. Attendees with a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone 5 could experience the first ever opportunity to seamlessly and automatically connect to the venue Wi-Fi. Participants also received valuable conference information and services seamlessly delivered to their mobile device through NGH. This is just the beginning. With 15 major carriers (and growing) signed up to deploy NGH, mobile users throughout the world will be able to experience the next generation of Wi-Fi early in 2014.
- Wi-Fi Roaming is Becoming a Reality. Several speakers described roaming as being where cellular roaming was 15 to 20 years ago. However, with the successful launch and upcoming deployment of NGH, seamless roaming amongst carriers is now becoming a reality. Indeed, the GSM Association recently approved a Wi-Fi Roaming Annex that will make it easy for mobile operators to support this. As such, the WBA expects roaming to be fully automated across more than 80% of public Wi-Fi networks by 2018.
- Wi-Fi is an Important Part of the Mobile Network. The world’s largest mobile operator, Read More »