As I was walking in the neighborhood this past weekend, I had a very frustrating experience between my Wi-Fi and cellular network. I was listening to my favorite radio station, streaming it via an app on my phone. As I walked further and further away from my home, the radio stream halted due to a weaker signal on Wi-Fi. By default, my phone tries to hang onto Wi-Fi for as long as possible before moving its connection to cellular. Usually, this is not an issue, because I have a higher bandwidth on Wi-Fi than I do on cellular inside my home. However, as I walked, my phone continued to try to stay connected to Wi-Fi despite the fact that the connection become poorer and poorer with each step I took. I needed a network that was intelligent enough to recognize which network would give me a better a connection and experience and utilize that. Fortunately, operators today are embracing Intelligent Access Selection to give customers that positive experience that I had hoped for.
This week, Vodafone Germany announced that they have completed a trial of Intelligent Access Selection with Cisco Policy Suite and Chemring Technology Solutions across three major German cities. The operator’s solution could make poor Wi-Fi connections a thing of the past by ensuring that customers always use the best available access technology.
To achieve this, the solution switched between the mobile and Wi-Fi networks, depending on which network provided the best user experience. Some factors used to determine the best experience included the time of day or location, as well as the load on the mobile or Wi-Fi networks. The decision of the best access technology was based on intelligent algorithms and rules, including the account location, time, and current measurements on the smartphone. It could also use historical information to identify congestion trends and user preferences, such as an automatic connection to his/her preferred Wi-Fi at home or office.
As a result, Vodafone’s users in the trial benefitted from simpler, trouble-free use of their devices, while maintaining the same high, stable connection quality they are accustomed to.
I can’t wait until this service is piloted in my area so I can have a better experience moving between Wi-Fi and cellular. In the meantime, feel free to learn more from Vodafone in their press release and about Cisco Policy Suite from Cisco’s site.