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What, Why, Where, When, How: The New FCC Ruling Around 5 GHz

You don’t need me to tell you to know that we are in the midst of a technology revolution.  It’s mobilizing the internet.  And it’s transforming the way billions of people around the globe collaborate, communicate, and connect to the internet.

•           The education customers I work with are incorporating video and mobile applications into their curriculum with up to a 100 students in an auditorium accessing the Wi-Fi network simultaneously.

•           Healthcare customers are relying on Wi-Fi to connect patients, devices and provide nurses instant access to medical records.

•           Manufacturing customers are increasingly using Wi-Fi to enable workers on the factory floor to have real-time video conversations with experts anywhere in the globe.

What do these things have in common?  They all depend on Wi-Fi for connectivity.  In these areas, and so many more, Wi-Fi has become a central way that people access the Internet.

The FCC released a historic decision on April 1, 2014 (adopted March 31)with regards to the use of 5 GHz spectrum. Although there were many technical aspects included within this decision, one of the most interesting was making the 5150-5250 MHz U-NII 1 band available for outdoor WLAN use. Read More »

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Passpoint Delivers a New Level of Wi-Fi Usability

The rise of new Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices and the growing ubiquity of Wi-Fi access points in most countries has been astounding.  Recent mobile consumer research by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) clearly demonstrates that most mobile devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled, and that approximately 70 to 80 percent of the time that consumers use these devices, they are potentially within range of a Wi-Fi access point. In fact, the research shows that one-third of the time, smartphone users are choosing Wi-Fi—rather than their mobile cellular network—to connect to the Internet. We expect that within the next two years, the number of Wi-Fi connections will reach parity with mobile cellular network connections. Wi-Fi has truly become a part of the mobile equation as consumers increasingly look to it to connect to rich mobile media experiences and to power their new, essential nomadic devices, such as tablets and eReaders.

While Wi-Fi is truly becoming a viable and essential complement to mobile, the user experience is certainly not without its challenges. Who hasn’t experienced the frustration of having to log on to a splash page and enter a complex passcode to gain Wi-Fi access at a public hotspot. And you have to repeat this complicated process every time you return for your morning cappuccino. The Cisco IBSG research clearly demonstrates that people also want seamless integration among Wi-Fi hotspots, and increasingly between mobile cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

The recent launch of the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint program by the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) offers to make this integration a reality. This industrywide, interoperable platform, supported across a range of networks and devices, will revolutionize the Wi-Fi user experience and become a key enabler of seamless data offload from mobile networks to public hotspots.

Here are the key Passpoint features planned for mid-2012: Read More »

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From Paris with Roaming 2.0 at the Wireless Broadband Alliance

Contributed By Lisa Garza, Cisco Service Provider Marketing, Mobility Solutions

Paris WBAOn the edge of Paris this week, a group of Wi-Fi experts gathered for a historic occasion - one they’ll be able to tell their grandchildren about.

It was the 19th Roundtable Conference of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).

The occasion was the launch of the Next Generation Hotspot trials.  These trials will set the stage for the future of Wi-Fi, establishing it as a robust, secure technology that will augment and complement 3G and 4G networks for years to come.

Next Generation Hotspot is based on the concept that Wi-Fi networks should be as safe and easy to access as cellular networks.  Some of the base specifications for network discovery (IEEE 802.11u), authentication (IEEE 802.1x), and security (IEEE 802.11i) were well underway.  The cellular example of using SIM cards for user identification and using roaming hubs for inter-carrier negotiation and billing were then applied and the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) specification for Hotspot 2.0 was a result.

The trials also represent a historic cooperation between the WBA, WFA, and GSMA.  The WFA will hold a series of test events that will allow vendors to test and certify against the specification, and the WBA will carry out the trials in operator networks.  Twenty-seven operators, vendors and roaming hubs have signed up for the trials. The trial results will be provided to the GSMA for harmonization with 3GPP standards.

Read More »

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