Picture this: you’re at a major sporting event, along with 100,000 of your closest friends and neighbors. You want to share this experience with your other jealous friends who didn’t shell out $1,000 like you did to attend the game, and you want to take pictures on your smartphone for your Facebook account and Tweet about the last touchdown that just happened. The only problem is, around half of the crowd at the game is trying to do the exact same thing. How can a service provider possibly manage to provide enough cellular coverage to allow everyone to do this?
With Cisco’s help, that’s how.
Today, Cisco is working with global service providers to allow service providers to offload their cellular data onto Wi-Fi networks, giving customers a superior user experience with seamless authentication and roaming, whether on a cellular or Wi-Fi network. Cisco’s vision is to elevate the status of Wi-Fi as a trusted radio network on par with cellular radio access network – and on February 14 at Mobile World Congress 2011, we’re taking one step closer to that vision with the launch of the Cisco Service Provider Wi-Fi Solution – our carrier-grade Wi-Fi offload and services enablement strategy.
Make no mistake, when we talk about a carrier-grade Wi-Fi solution, we’re talking about the next big step in Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi network is run by the operator, who wants to ensure a seamless customer experience – including easy login and roaming, interference mitigation, reliable coverage with robust capacity and throughput, and security. Operators need a solution that is designed to support millions of users and support exponential traffic growth, and is tied to their current networks so that the Wi-Fi network can provide a cost effective solution for offloading mobile data traffic.
The Cisco Service Provider Wi-Fi solution addresses all of these needs. It provides a unified architecture that is a natural extension of existing fixed and mobile networks. It provides centralized management and control of the Wi-Fi network for all uses, including residential, community, businesses, Hotspots, and public venues such as stadiums.
Cisco provides all of the elements for the Service Provider Wi-Fi solution. The latest addition to the architecture is the Cisco Aironet 1550 Series Outdoor Access Point, which features Cisco’s CleanAir technology, making it the industry’s first carrier-grade 802.11n access point to detect and classify sources of interference to create a self-healing and self-optimizing wireless network. The Aironet 1550 Series was created to provide secure, high-performance mobility across large metropolitan-sized areas, enterprise campuses, manufacturing yards, and mining pits. At the same time, the Aironet 1550 Series supports multi-device and multi-network application delivery such as video surveillance, 3G/4G data offload, and public and private Wi-Fi access.
On top of that, at Mobile World Congress, Cisco will also be introducing its Next Generation Hotspot strategy, which will assist service providers in delivering a host of new personalized mobile services that enhance the end user experience with unique context-aware services. Ultimately, Next Generation Hotspot will help service providers increase revenue and market share through subscriber retention with Mobile Concierge solutions using Cisco’s own Mobility Services Advertisement Protocol (MSAP).
To provide an example of how this works, MSAP allows the network to deliver applications, such as special offers or coupons from retailers, to your smartphone as you’re walking through the mall past that retailer, without the need for you to do anything. Because MSAP brings a new personalized mobile experience to mobile subscribers, service providers can increase monetization capabilities through premium services and advertising.
It’ll be an exciting week at Mobile World Congress. There’ll be no better place to see firsthand Cisco’s vision of delivering a borderless Internet mobility experience by providing seamless connectivity across any wireless network to enterprises, service providers and consumers. Hope to see you there!
If you’ll be attending Mobile World Congress, drop by our booth ( stand 8A70 in Hall 8 ) – we’d love to show you our Next Generation Hotspot demo!