The recent release of the Cisco® Universal Wi-Fi solution for service providers is the industry’s first end-to-end solution with HD VoWi-Fi (Voice over Wi-Fi) as a key feature. This focus on Voice signals a significant turning point in the role of Wi-Fi in Mobile Network Operator Networks (MNOs).
Up until now, while Wi-Fi access has widespread acceptance by MNOs globally, its focus has been for low $ yield best-effort traffic. Wi-Fi’s significantly lower cost per bit TCO has made it attractive for taking on the bulk of the insatiable mobile device data demand in recent years. However now we see a shift in this approach, from looking at Wi-Fi as a secondary “best-effort” access only to also being a supplementary access for real-time services i.e. Voice.
The culmination of several enhancements in the Wi-Fi end-to-end solution, now give MNOs confidence that carrier-grade end user experience can offered.
Wi-Fi enhancements enabling/enhancing real-time Voice service;
- High capacity dual-band air interface (802.11n and 802.11ac)
- Advanced radio techniques for MIMO and beamforming in multi-user environments
- SON for multi-band radio resource management and interference mitigation
- Session handover between access points
- RF planning and antenna design for high-density environments
- Security with iWAN client
- Seamless mobility (Mobile/Wi-Fi) with ePDG converged Packet Core
- Seamless authentication for public hotspots and roaming with EAP-SIM and HS2.0
- IP based Voice, Messaging and Video with TelcoCloud based IMS
- Network management and analytics for service assurance.
Bring this solution approach together means Wi-Fi is ready for the real-time service world and many MNOs are in the midst of enabling VoWi-Fi as we speak. The fundamental shift is that the network end-to-end needs to be designed with real-time use experience in mind; simply “off-loading” traffic at the first possible moment is no longer good enough. Real-time Wi-Fi needs to be treated like any other Radio Access Technology (RAT) in the operator’s network, with the right end-to-end engineering and operational oversight to ensure customer satisfaction.
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