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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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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.

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