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Carrier Wi-Fi: the next generation


Carrier Wi-Fi


Ruth Guerra

Putting the network in control over whether or not a device should switch to and from Wi-Fi, and when it should switch, will make it easier for operators to provide a harmonized mobile broadband experience and optimize resource utilization in heterogeneous networks.

Overcoming the coordination issues in multi-RAT environments is the primary objective for next generation carrier Wi-Fi. Guaranteeing the best mobile broadband experience and ensuring that resources in a heterogeneous network including Wi-Fi are utilized in an optimal way, is only possible if subscribers are connected to Wi-Fi when this is the best option for them and for the entire network.

This may sound obvious, but the way subscribers are currently switched to and from Wi-Fi is not optimal. Today, the decision to connect to Wi-Fi is taken by the device according to one basic principle: if Wi-Fi is available, then use it for data traffic.

To provide the best user experience across all available resources and optimize resource utilization, the decision of whether or not to switch to Wi-Fi or back to cellular, and when to switch, needs to be made according to a more complex set of principles.

The decision should take into account all available technologies and carriers, all visible cells, network and device capabilities, as well as radio conditions based on a calculated performance estimate for each device, given the aggregation of all subscribers in the area.

This Ericsson Review article discusses some of the on-going standardization work and how to overcome some of the challenges associated with integrating Wi-Fi into cellular networks.

Carrier Wi-Fi: the next generation

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