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Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into the  Mobile Packet Core
Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into the  Mobile Packet Core
Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into the  Mobile Packet Core
Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into the  Mobile Packet Core
Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into the  Mobile Packet Core
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Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into the Mobile Packet Core

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  • 1. Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into theMobile Packet CoreRuckus Wireless | White Paper Enabling the Vision of Heterogeneous Networking Through the Convergence of Wi-Fi and 3G/LTE TechnologyIntroductionThere has been a great deal of interest of late in using Wi-Fi to technologies. This vision requires that operators maintain theoffload traffic from heavily congested mobile networks. Early same level of control regardless of the RAN type.deployments consisted of building a parallel Wi-Fi offload The services that are available in the mobile packet corenetwork that takes traffic directly to the Internet. The mobile include:network operator would implement a proprietary client ofsome kind that would manage the offload function. Manysubscribers have implemented their own offload strategy byselecting Wi-Fi when it’s available.Now the industry is shifting its focus toward integrating Wi-FiRANs into the mobile packet core. In this approach, Wi-Fi would -take its place alongside 3G/LTE as a cornerstone technology less inter-RAT handover) 1in the mobile world. The mobile device selects the best radioaccess technology based on the conditions (typically signalstrength, application type, default to Wi-Fi, etc.) and the sub-scriber is automatically authenticated and connected. This is amanual process today, but the industry is moving rapidly towardautomating all this under a combination of operator and sub-scriber control. All RAN traffic is brought back into the mobilepacket core, and from there it goes to the mobile operator’s ser- 3GPP (the 3rd generation partnership project) has developedvice complex, the Internet, or a corporate intranet. To make this two different approaches to integrating Wi-Fi into the mobileHetNet vision a reality, the experience of connecting to Wi-Fi packet core. The first assumes untrusted WLAN access andmust be made as simple and secure as when connecting to cel- 1 In this document we will use the mobile definition of roaming whichlular. The services must also be the same, and it should even be refers to the ability to use your mobile device on the network of an operator for which you do not have a business arrangement, versus thepossible to seamlessly handoff between Wi-Fi and cellular RAN Wi-Fi definition which means to be handed off from one AP to another.
  • 2. Page 2Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into the Mobile Packet Corethe second assumes trusted WLAN access. The work on FIGURE 1:untrusted WLAN access first appeared as part of the I-WLANeffort in 3GPP Release 6, which defined a TTG (tunnel termina- Mobile Core HLR/HSS IPsec/IKEv2interworking function. This work was extended in 3GPP Release AAA Gn/S2b SCG-200 GGSN/P-GW SCG-200 SCG working group. This paper will examine both Client (TTG, PDG, ePDG) (UE)approaches in more detail. Internet InternetUntrusted WLAN accessThe assumption in untrusted WLAN access is that the mobile an overly cumbersome connection process as the user mustoperator need not know anything about the Wi-Fi network first authenticate to the Wi-Fi AP (using whatever protocol isthat originated the connection. That operator could be a hotel, required by the AP) and then get an IP address which is used toairport, cable operator, aggregator, etc. The mobile operator setup an IPsec tunnel back to the mobile packet core where itwould have to have a roaming arrangement with that entity, must authenticate all over again to get yet another IP addressbut didn’t need to know much else. In most early Wi-Fi deploy- for the actual session. Tunneling also makes the access layerments the security was modest to non-existent, so this was a invisible, which removes the opportunity to apply policy, qual-valid approach. 3GPP’s solution was to have the mobile device ity of service, perform local breakout, etc. There have been variations on this theme using Mobile IP, but they all suffer fromtunnel over the Wi-Fi access network. These tunnels would similar problems with regards to mobile device support andterminate on a massively scalable IPsec concentrator back in complexity. The net result is that the industry has continued tothe mobile operator’s data center. This concentrator function is look for a better solution. Trusted WLAN access has been introduced in 3GPP Release 11 for LTE RANs, andmodel and it requires nothing more from the access layer than it can easily be extended to support 3G RANs. The focusa simple bit pipe. It does, however, put a significant burden onthe mobile device and the mobile packet core.That burden consists of a requirement that mobile device ven- WLAN needed to be trusted3 the job. This protocol has gotten plenty of support from theand the mobile packet core vendors had to develop TTG/ mobile device and Wi-Fi AP communities. It addresses all mobile industry concerns around ease of use and security byformer hasn’t. Mobile device vendors have been unwilling todevelop the necessary client software, which has prevented thisapproach from gaining traction. The reason for this reluctance with far less complexity. EAP supports a variety of differentprotocol that loads down the mobile device. It is also makes for 3 The decision on whether a WLAN network is trusted or untrusted is made by the mobile operator. The typical requirement for “trust” is that the subscriber be securely authenticated and all data communications over PMIP. over the airlink be encrypted.
  • 3. Page 3Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into the Mobile Packet Core FIGURE 2: Trusted Wireless LAN Access Using TWAG Func-to EAP-AKA, and is the preferred approach by most mobile tionality Mobile Coreairlink encryption are also key building blocks in the Hotspot 802.1x HLR/HSS AAA 802.11i STa SCG-200 GGSN/P-GW SCG-200 Gn/S2a SCG Client (TWAG) (3G/LTE) card to authenticate regardless of the RAN (UE) type makes for a seamless authentication experience. Internet Internet with username and password. The former is a very good option for laptops, digital cameras, and tablets as it FIGURE 3: Trusted Wireless LAN Access while Roaming enables a seamless connection experience without the Visited Network Subscriber’s Home Network AAA AAA HLR/HSS 802.1x option for serving drop-in customers. 802.11iThe key piece of network equipment that is required for STatrusted access is the Trusted WLAN Access Gateway (TWAG). SCG-200 GGSN/P-GW SCG-200 Gn/S2a SCG Client (TWAG)hundreds of thousands of Wi-Fi APs over GRE tunnels that can (UE) Internet Internetand GTPv1. Proxy Mobile IP (PMIP) can also be used in place of This approach is called trusted WLAN access, because it along withThe GTP tunnel is used to activate a session between the these protocols on their APs and will only roam with Wi-Fiprocess. This involves the creation of a data structure in the partners that also use these protocols. For a partner to roam - with a mobile operator they will need to terminate their APs on their own TWAG and then tunnel back to the mobile opera- exchange using GTP. This assumes that the subscriber’s data is always tunneled back to the home network, which is thea mobility event, the session must follow. standard in the mobile world. 3GPP is looking at options that will support local breakout when roaming. In this approach -cation credentials between the TWAG and the 3GPP AAA network, instead of the normal practice of bringing it all the way back to the home network. Local breakout can also befor final processing. implemented in the home network by using the mobile infra- structure to authenticate the subscriber, but then offloading simplicity. authenticator that runs on the TWAG, and an authentication server
  • 4. Page 4Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into the Mobile Packet Core Alliance and the Wireless Broadband Alliance. Phase 1 of thisbrought back into the mobile packet core, the set of services standard has already been approved and it will soon be avail-that could be offered to the subscriber will be very limited. and the downloading of operator policy into mobile devices.In our roaming scenario the subscriber will need to authenti-cate through a local AAA server in the visited network whichwill proxy it back to a AAA server in the home network, which about APs in its proximity.Roaming is one of the interesting ways in which trusted WLANaccess differs from untrusted WLAN access. In the latter the Getting Connected This section look at the process of getting connected whenwhere the subscriber might be, and all traffic is tunneled back using trusted WLAN access.over IPsec. With trusted WLAN access, the TWAG is always inthe visited network and traffic is tunneled back over GTP to the The mobile device starts by automatically scanning all avail-is also how cellular networks operate when the user is roaming authentication process. If the mobile device does not see an -Trusted WLAN Access & Non-SIM DevicesThere is another kind of breakout that also needs to be sup- 6 . The mobile operator’s AAAported by the TWAG gateway. Wi-Fi networks are used byhundreds of millions of laptops and tablets that do not have has been established, the user can connect and begin trans-have a great need for Internet access. Mobile operators can backhauled to the Internet by way of the mobile packet coreapproach gives the same seamless authentication procedure sequence of steps required to establish on connection whenInstead, it needs to be offloaded to the Internet at the Trusted that follows is greatly simplified for purposes of this document.devices will require additional capabilities at the TWAG includ- 1. Wi-Fi access is initiateding billing, policy, and lawful intercept support to name a few(functions that are normally provided in the mobile packet core).The decision on how to route the user is made at the time of back in the mobile core.authentication. By adding this offload capability, mobile opera-tors can now target the hundreds of millions of non-cellular Wi-Fi specific L3 attach procedure is triggered.equipped Wi-Fi devices that need seamless authentication, context.TWAG function out close to the Wi-Fi RAN, as there is no needto backhaul this traffic to the mobile packet core. Procedure with the PCRF (policy and charging rules function).Hotspot 2.0A key piece of the vision for integrating Wi-Fi into the mobilepacket core involves automating the process of discovering user intervention and are not secure.and selecting an AP when roaming. This is being addressed by
  • 5. Page 5Integrating Wi-Fi RANs into the Mobile Packet CoreFIGURE 4: UE Non-3GPP Access P-GW PCRF 3GPP AAA HSS 1 Non-3GPP Access 2 EAP Authentication Authentication and Authorization 3 Attach Trigger Create Session Request 4 CCR (Initial) CCA (Initial) 5 Update PDN GW Address Create Session Response 6 7 8 Attach Completed Non-3GPP Access GTP Tunnel SGI IP Access devices that are already shipping. This is a compelling solu- tion that addresses all of the problems with the I-WLAN The message includes information that identifies the approach including the unwillingness of mobile device vendors PLMN (public land mobile network) in which the P-GW is mobile operators have an architecture that makes Wi-Fi access as simple and secure as cellular access. It also uses protocols - that are already broadly deployed in the industry. Mobile oper- sage to the TWAG, including the IP address allocated ators can greatly increase their footprint in a very cost effective for the UE. manner by using Wi-Fi to complement their 3G/LTE build-outs. 8. L3 attach procedure is completed and the IP address information is provided to the UE.The sequence will be very different in a roaming applica- it will even be possible to enable seamless handoff astion where traffic is backhauled to the home network, and in subscribers move from 3G/LTE to Wi-Fi and back again.roaming applications that use local breakout. The use of PMIPinstead of GTP also changes things. technologies. Instead, they get an always best-connectedNext Steps for Mobile Operators Wi-Fi assets to generate revenue from the hundreds of millions of Wi-Fi only laptops, tablets, and digital cameras that needThe industry is moving forward with trusted WLAN access connectivity while on the move. Mobile operators that suc- cessfully integrate Wi-Fi into their service offering will be bestinto 3GPP Release 11. TWAG gateways will start to emerge positioned for continued success in the years to come.later this year and they will be able to interwork with mobileRuckus Wireless, Inc.880 West Maude Avenue, Suite 101, Sunnyvale, CA 94085 USA (650) 265-4200 Ph (408) 738-2065 Fx w w w.r u c k u s w i re le s s .co m

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