What WiFi Offload Don't Reveal


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What WiFi Offload Don't Reveal

  1. 1. WHITEPAPERWhat Wi-Fi Offload Don’t Reveal www.greenpacket.com
  2. 2. WHITEPAPERAbstractThe industrys view of Wi-Fi has definitely changed from indifference toadoption alongside cellular technology as complementary. The industry islargely driven by economies of scale, where previously Wi-Fi addedsignificant costs to devices. If a carrier wanted to add Wi-Fi to each handsetproduced, it would incur a slight incremental cost of several dollars.But when scaled in larger numbers and for a low-cost provider it meantprice sensitivity adds up. Carriers steered away from Wi-Fi until thenumbers made sense. Not until the turnaround came between the years2005-2009, where Wi-Fi was shipped with most PCs, smartphonesand tablets.Cellular operators, Wi-Fi operators, Wi-Fi aggregators and cable operatorsform part of the mix to benefit from Wi-Fi augmentation. Wi-Fi is not devoidof shortfalls, because of its short range coverage and interference canoccur. Signal strength no longer guarantees a successful network.Proper Wi-Fi network design must take into account both the client and theinfrastructure because airtime is a shared resource. The capabilities of acarrier’s customer population will directly impact the capacity andperformance of the wireless network. On top of that, mobility is integral toour everyday lives. Providing coverage, quality experience and sufficientspeed to run applications anywhere and anytime is key.With continued momentum for smartphone uptake and LTE starting out,majority of devices are today and will continue to have Wi-Fi functionality.In many markets, the installed base of mobile broadband subscriptionwill gain, complementing fixed and cable segments and potentiallyreplacing it in others and thus, demands more thought into the carriers’offload strategy.
  3. 3. WHITEPAPERContentsOverview 013 Steps to Wi-Fi Offload 03Incremental Return as Long Term StrategyScaling Carrier Wi-FiMobility, Roaming and What it Means for CarriersIs it Enough to Wi-Fi Everywhere? 07Harmonizing Wi-Fi in Mobile NetworksWi-Fi on the DeviceDrivers and Inhibitors, the Road AheadConclusion 13Discover Secrets of Wi-Fi Offload 14
  4. 4. WHITEPAPER Overview - 01OverviewMobile communications may well create more disruptive forces in the yearsahead. The wireless industry will potentially navigate around cloud,social networks, mobility and data analytics as those trends face off oneway or another. As cloud play out the mobility theme, so will the impact ofcloud-driven services like Dropbox that is simply easy to use and is helpingstimulate the bring your own device (BYOD) to work behavior across manyuse cases. Meanwhile, organizations are looking to better manage accesscontrol practices to allow that to happen. The multiple driving force in bothcorporate and consumer level is encouraging as the effect of mobile-widecloud adoption as mainstream app vehicle is imminent. The attention onoperators now is to offer products and service beyond connectivity asindividuals and organizations by and large grow dependent on mobilesolutions such as 3G, Wi-Fi, 4G and LTE among others.Surrounding the concerns of wider network requirements, the macrocellular architecture must be supplemented by small cells solutions to datatraffic volumes that will continue to grow at an average of 50% between2012 and 20181. The staggering rise of the small cells and Wi-Fiinvestments is unlike any before. Interestingly, even in times of economicuncertainties, the trail of operator investments is steadily advancing.According to ABI research, the volume of small cells market will be anestimated worth of $3.1billion by 2018 and expected to carve a niche overpublic venues. On another study, Infonetics forecast the carrier Wi-Fimarket will take off with double digit annual growth through to 2016. Be itsmall cells or Wi-Fi, it is a way to cut coverage deficit by bringing Wi-Ficoverage on the streets and seek closer integration between Wi-Fi and themobile network as part of an offload strategy. From a user experienceperspective, users are more mobile than ever. The convenience of lookingto use smartphones to handle straightforward activities such as paying bills,checking their account status, data roaming as well as more complextransactions. Wi-Fi will not be a replacement for LTE, but complement sideby side. 1Source : Ericsson Mobility Report (Nov 2012)
  5. 5. WHITEPAPER Overview - 02Complementing mobile data service by enhancing throughput is one ofthe many motivations for carrier Wi-Fi, followed by scarcity of licensedspectrum. That aside, offload has other plus points that are not madeclear enough; seamless handovers, subscriber authentication, policyenforcement and more from a network-wide perspective. Carrier Wi-Fitoday, takes on a starkly different way compared to the previousgeneration of consumer Wi-Fi, with ANDSF and Hotspot 2.0improvements coming onboard. This paper will take a drawdown of theaspects unseen from a consumer level and answers some of the carriers’questions on dark spots of the offload movement covering the supply anddemand side, including market drivers, vendor proposition and a detailedevaluation of the carrier service provider requirements.
  6. 6. WHITEPAPER 3 Steps to Wi-Fi Offload - 033 Steps to Wi-Fi OffloadWi-Fi is available to any service provider that wants to supplement its ownspectrum, because it’s built into almost all mobile devices and runs onunlicensed spectrum. But how effective one makes Wi-Fi lies in identifyingthe right strategy to Wi-Fi offload. The usage behavior of smartphone usersvary according to the access network. With cellular network setbacks dueto congestion, providing the same user experience with alternativetechnologies like Wi-Fi has become essential for carriers. Starting fromrestructuring their strategies to include Wi-Fi to the pursuit of monetizationand optimization from within Wi-Fi business models by offering the samevalue proposition is nothing new. But the approach taken must resonatesomewhat to the consumer preference and align current adoption to drivefurther technology investments and strategy as it will not only allow them tomap to customer demands, but allow emerging technology to mature.Incremental Return asLong Term StrategyAn effective Wi-Fi offload aims to bring benefits beyond cost savings.Far from being a technology that is used to back up cellular networks or to“offload” during periods of congestion, Wi-Fi is now established as theprimary means of data connectivity for a large and growing base of users.The emergence of intuitive and easy-to-use connection managementclients on smartphones are enabling customers to control connectionchoices based upon the application to be used, the cost of access or theirperceived views around the quality of network experience. The intention isclear, for carriers to avoid further attrition and maximize the share of spendwithin a single individual user’s account (subscription) or even in somecases of multiple accounts for as long as possible.Consumers are now littered with many price plan options in the market thatare possibly similar, but disappointed with the promise masked bycomplicated jargons and the so called incentives to be nominal.What separates a good experience to an unrivalled experience is primarilydriven by the carriers’ ability to pull away from those poor marketing, peskyand unwanted public relation backlash. Considering the pool of emerging
  7. 7. WHITEPAPER 3 Steps to Wi-Fi Offload - 04Wi-Fi markets in the billions, it is more logical to build sustainable long termgoals. The business case must be robust enough to entail the carrier intolong-tail revenues. Just like most technology lifecycle expects, from thetime of early market entry to reach peak levels of major adoption takesbetween 2-3 years and tapers down through the 5th year, by which theearly adopters would have already gained market leadership considerably.Leaving behind the laggards picking up the remnants of a shrinking smallmarket pool. Whether LTE networks are gearing for commercial servicecompletion in 2013 or beyond, one thing is certain, now is the window forcarriers to squeeze every possible part of those Wi-Fi investments bydelivering new, innovative, unified communications without necessarilyspending more.Scaling Carrier Wi-FiCarriers are clearly staring at the risk of “dying” a slow death losing itsappeal to consumers, in expense of the consumers’ attachment to theirdevices and freely available “app”-bomination of their revenues. It isimportant to restate the value of cellular networks to their users todifferentiate the cellular value proposition from Wi-Fi. This redefinition islikely to be on the basis of characteristics such as always-on availability,the simplicity of access to the network, the reliability and stability ofconnections and by winning customer trust on the basis of underlyingsecurity and privacy. Unmistakably, the consumption patterns bear closerelationship between the tablets and their smaller screen counterpart ofsmartphones. It comes as no surprise when connected to 3G and 4G,today’s tablets and smartphones encourage more involved sessionpossibly due to richer media viewing. Carriers should drive the intelligencewithin those smart devices.Shape the user behavior! This of course will create material impact on thecarriers’ pricing strategies and policies that have in shaping the behavior oftheir respective customers. Rather than say no to OTT, stir up the IP-basedservices with easy access to boundless Wi-Fi. Say no to fragmentation toan extent, where these services are made easily available, over multiplescreens, closely integrated as a wholesome technical and commercialusage. General optimism shows that data will be dealt with rigor.
  8. 8. WHITEPAPER 3 Steps to Wi-Fi Offload - 05Carriers can take on several personas of leading a full service model,service enabler or network provider. Scaling Wi-Fi one day at a time can behandled as part of dealing with the carriers’ own and/or partnered Wi-Fiaccess. The effect of improved network discovery is appealing so as todistinguish a certain SSID selection. This makes sense, if carriers want toinfluence the users to frequent certain APs or SSIDs, and possibly gather asmuch information and enforce policies according to their preference.But this may constitute a violation of data protection and privacy laws insome countries. Are the users willing enough to allow the carrier’s tomanipulate their preference? In some cases, SIM-based authenticationmakes it easier for the carriers since the users are already tied to theirservice and surrounding extensions of the mobile roaming mechanisms.In short, sometimes and for some use cases - automated and seamless(i.e. zero-touch, auto login) connection to Wi-Fi sounds perfect, combinedwith session continuity and all the fancy promises. However, speed, latency,security, cost, ownership, policy, power consumption and many otherparameters can be over-sighted or at least have yet to be fully resolved. Thelimitations should always be made transparent over users who are keptunaware of the risks and whole host of problems. For sure, there will be “Nolikes” for the feeling of being under-cut. Of which, some of this can be doneintelligently and effectively with more elegant solutions that encourageinformed decisions.Mobility, Roaming andWhat it Means for CarriersGoing the extra mile with Wi-Fi is an attractive proposition, provided thecarrier is willing to clarify the motivation without negating the implications onthe business case. The recent surge of Wi-Fi developments have steeredtowards service providers, particularly mobile operators. It has beenspurred with the stimulation of smartphones and the desire to use Wi-Fi formobile data offload. Since smartphones differ largely in their usage versuslaptops and often provided by operators, it gives operators the advantageto customize configuration and software settings into the handsets.As opposed to the PC market that is free of such preset configurations.Although there are smartphones in the open market without operatorsubsidies, there is a common trait in smartphones usage that is primarilydata-oriented around mobile Internet. And thus, enabling software settings
  9. 9. WHITEPAPER 3 Steps to Wi-Fi Offload - 06to be able to influence in a positive manner on the user interaction isinstinctively better at throwing mindless marketing gimmicks to driveaway interest.While technology is important to push forward market initiatives related toroaming, easing Wi-Fi integration and so forth, it is the role of user-interfacesoftware i.e. the device connection client that must not be underestimated.Though basic, this application on the device plays an important part ofpassing information to the user about network availability, handles anyautomated logins (if any) and all other related messages. In some cases,it may even be able to replace the complexity of specified access requiringseparate user names and passwords.Prohibitively expensive roaming data charges have been unfavorable tomany users. As an attempt to reduce costs, users are compelled to trycheaper alternatives. Roaming charges are already witnessing changes insome European markets, where regulations ensure market competitivenessis in favor of consumers need for better and affordable charges. But towhich extent the convenience of mobility and roaming is offered outside ofthe carriers’ home market is sometimes arguable. 3G 4G LTE
  10. 10. WHITEPAPER Is it Enough to Wi-Fi Everywhere? - 07Is it Enough toWi-Fi Everywhere?Dark spots and uncertainties of the smartphone user demystified.Perfecting both network interoperability and user experience demandssuccessful and careful consideration from technicalities of architecturalsupport, appreciation of real user interaction, partnering with supplierswell-versed in Wi-Fi value chain to advocating industry best practices.Smart devices are very different to traditional PCs in behavior andexpectations placed upon it and thus providing an intuitive and transparentmanner to Wi-Fi requires more thorough study.Harmonizing Wi-Fi in Mobile NetworksWi-Fi roaming can likely be more important in future LTE scenarios wherethere is a huge range of frequency bands for 4G, and it is probable thatmany phones will not be able to support all visited foreign networks, even ifthe data price is acceptable. Roaming onto Wi-Fi could act as a commondenominator. Or could it possibly be a setback, if the devices becomesophisticated enough to support multiple bands to pull away with thegreater data speed over LTE to the preference of users given a reasonableroaming charge.Nevertheless, a key component will be around to ease the use, andpotentially linkage to other communications services, the phone bill orperhaps enablers such as identity-management and customer-profilingwhich telcos are well-positioned to facilitate. While in the past where Wi-Fiwas enabled, the attempts were mostly based on proprietary approachesthat may not be straight forward to the users. Only more recently standardsbodies, operators and vendors have become more involved in influencingthe development. The milestone of Wi-Fi Alliance and Wireless BroadbandAlliance (WBA) solidifying their efforts in Hotspot 2.0 and Next GenerationHotspots respectively to build a common framework.
  11. 11. WHITEPAPER Is it Enough to Wi-Fi Everywhere? - 08It’s important to reduce the fragmentation of the value chain, but mustrecognize the developments will probably take 2-3 years into mass scaleand thus, interim solutions will still be urgently needed wherever demanded.Another point in contention is how much added backhaul is neededwith Wi-Fi. Without high-capacity, ultra-compact, low-cost backhaul,the small-cell market will struggle to grow. Backhaul is often misguided byonly re-purposing the existing links. The requirements are very different fromwhat it used to be in the single macro cellular type environment.Solutions are necessary to perform better, smaller and more affordable.The key here is co-existent of multiple combinations of line of sight (LOS)and non LOS, fiber optic and DSL copper lines that are layered upondeployment modes.Wi-Fi on the DeviceConvenience of single sign-on and preservation of credentials for a hasslefree Wi-Fi access is not without debate. Some camps prefer to have thedecision placed closer to the network edge, but some prefer to have a lessrestrictive approach to it. Most carriers are not sure how the monetization ofWi-Fi is warranted for now at least, and for most part the added traffic areperceived to have lower importance for it to be offloaded to Wi-Fi in the firstplace. Assuming it suffice to improve application performance and to someextent device battery consumption, the implementation of a softwaredevice client takes away the complexity of network related interfacing andshortens the go-to-market of Wi-Fi service mix as in Greenpacket’s IntouchData Offload suite that is designed with standards compliant client-serverarchitecture for easy integration to existing networks.Data offload in the Wi-Fi environment may not necessarily spells success inall use cases. Take for example, carriers that want to extend their Wi-Fifootprint without the intention to have Wi-Fi build out. These carriers wouldpotentially leverage on a selected group of venues to provide Wi-Ficoverage, be it public or private. Perhaps this is a cause for non-criticaloffload, but rather to close coverage gaps. In other cases, perhaps thecarrier does need to better manage traffic have stricter requirements forvisibility. For which, a carrier Wi-Fi deployment or partner Wi-Fi wouldnecessitate the aspects of billing and core network integration. Althoughmost smartphones have Wi-Fi capability, the turning Wi-Fi on/off and itsswitching mechanism may vary considerably. There are different adoptions
  12. 12. WHITEPAPER Is it Enough to Wi-Fi Everywhere? - 09of standards on device like 802.11 (EAP-based methods), WISPr, WRIX,Hotspot 2.0 and more. Regardless of whether it is carrier Wi-Fi, public(via partner) or private Wi-Fi (subscriber Wi-Fi at home) the device client isthe first point of interaction between the user and the network to kick-startthe experience. Wi-Fi Connect Wi-Fi Connect Map Feedback Settings Map Feedback Usage Settings Wi-Fi Connection Status Wi-Fi Ready Mode Connected to : PCCW Wi-Fi Network Quality : Fair 10 Hotspots Found! Connected to Available PCCW Wi-Fi PCCW Wi-Fi Your current location Your estimated location Figure 1 : Wi-Fi Hotspot Finder Figure 2 : Hotspot Map Wi-Fi Connect Wi-Fi Connect 10 location found Map Feedback Settings PCCW Wi-Fi Hotspot Connected to : My_home (home) Network Quality : Excellent Macdonald’s Kwai Chung Fair Causeway Bay MTR Poor Excellent City University Wi-Fi Data Usage < Click here for more details > 11A, Robertson Hall You have used Wi-Fi Connect in 3 cities Data Cap: 250MB Starbuks Wi-Fi Times Square 0MB 750MB Cellular = 150MB Wi-Fi = 200MB Wi-Fi Help Figure 3 : Wi-Fi Hotspot Figure 4 : Wi-Fi QoS Priority Manager
  13. 13. WHITEPAPER Is it Enough to Wi-Fi Everywhere? - 10The Intouch Data Offload suite is what carriers need to map the carriers’offload path. The basic approach of the Wi-Fi offload can be as simple as aWi-Fi hotspot finder application that helps to inform available Wi-Finetworks at a glance and convenience of visual hotspot map. The basis ofsuch offload approach and its benefits are multiple. Prioritization of Wi-Fibased on measure of Wi-Fi QoS that includes the monitoring of latency andspeed of Wi-Fi APs makes for consistent experience. Apart from itsfunctions as a hotspot locator, the device client allows for rememberedconnections, so that the next time the Wi-Fi SSIDs is within range, it willinitiate an automated login that is neat and less clunky.Greenpacket’s approach of mixing and matching the different stages ofoffload requirements from a simple direct Wi-Fi offload, to real-time policyenforced offload with ANDSF to the closely integrated inter-WLANseamless offload, there is always a customized solution to fit. The need forpolicy control is witnessing greater appreciation for which operators makeuse of policy preference on top of secure access to better user experienceand mitigate congestion. The approach of more advanced device client tofeedback network conditions in real-time makes connection shifts based oncontext information. The policy decisions are delimited by validity of thelocation, time of day and discovery information.The ability to maintain session persistence is highly desirable whenconfronted with session critical applications, given that many people are alot more driven by the urgency of information at their fingertips regardless oftime and place. With mobility, then comes the need to preserve or enhancethe level of quality of service at some level. It not surprising then, Wi-Fi QoSforms an important part of the solution. The patented technology in smartsignal assisted switching ensures the device client is aware and capable ofidentifying the most optimal conditions to ensure a seamless handover.Essentially, the client software resides in the device and is governed by theembedded intelligence and algorithms that are responsive toconnection-aware triggers like Wi-Fi notification, access network discoveryand selection, detection of mobility, QoS information at a particular AP thatin turn is conveyed to the user on the device through the device userinterface. At the same time, the information gathered will be passedupstream to the network to help signal the onset of seamless handover.
  14. 14. WHITEPAPER Is it Enough to Wi-Fi Everywhere? - 11Drivers and Inhibitors, the Road AheadSeamless roaming between LTE and Wi-Fi is a broad goal, but not withoutthe challenges of fragmentation. Numerous industry players are advancingWi-Fi roaming access across different network providers even when they’rein different countries. It is made clear, the desirability to accelerate themonetization of Wi-Fi, be it inter-connection fees, wholesale or keeping insubscribers. On the reverse, it would mean on-boarding of roamers to theirnetwork. The recent announcement of WBA’s Interoperability CompliancyProgram (ICP) specifically aims to address the reduction of fragmentation inthe way the devices connect and roam onto Wi-Fi networks. These willneed to be accommodated through the user interface of the device and inparallel works well with the native connection management methods.Despite the plausible efforts of driving Wi-Fi offloading, not all aspects areaddressed and well received with operator sentiments. Other industry’stake on Wi-Fi questions the limited backhaul availability to carry all thoseextra traffic. Some operators prefer to take the direct Internet offload, wherethe traffic is diverted to the Internet without visibility, as in public Wi-Finetworks. While some operators have defined structures to allow a deepintegration of Wi-Fi with controlled offload. The managed Wi-Fi offload mayor may not be chargeable, depending on the subscription. The carrier in thiscase can subject to the subscription of policies to which it restrict speeds,applications and preferred hotspots. It has to be made clear that theconcept of policy control is not to actively block the user’s choice of hotspotwhether public or private but rather to help make better informed choices.The Intouch Data Offload suite of device-client solutions incorporatesMobile IP2 technology in its core functionality which allows the preservationof IP session persistence. On top of enabling seamless mobility, inter-WLANtechnology ensures the solution continues to serve the wider contextmobile data offload strategies across various wireless networksindependent of access network types. Not forgetting the option to bolt onadded Wi-Fi QoS to further precise the entire Wi-Fi experience. 2Note : Greenpacket Mobile IP client is the world’s 1st patented Mobile IP client solution
  15. 15. WHITEPAPER Is it Enough to Wi-Fi Everywhere? - 12New non-operator type use cases for Wi-Fi are emerging such as smartmetering, healthcare and attempts to leverage on cloud-driven mobility. Itonly makes sense to straighten out the device software and user interfacingexperience where the overall value is understated. As exemplified in Apple’siPhone that exploit the use of Wi-Fi. Current approaches of carrier Wi-Fi istoo hung-up on network-centric details and easily underscores the needsto place a more holistic end-to-end model.
  16. 16. WHITEPAPER Conclusion - 13ConclusionConsumers today are likely to choose applications that are more bandwidthintensive like YouTube video, but of lower importance to traverse over Wi-Finetworks. That is because consumers find cellular networks typically arebetter suited to critical interactions such as location-based services, socialnetworking updates and navigational maps that require real-timecommunication. In this aspect, carriers are challenged to reshape the valueof Wi-Fi on the basis of value add as an easily available, simple, reliable andconsistent connections that also comes with a good level of privacy andsecurity.It’s clear that consumers shift to a multi-screen world stretching oversmartphones, tablets to desktop PCs. To successfully provide on-demandoptions, carriers recognize the need of a multi-device framework to createan optimal customer experience regardless of the device or screen theconsumer is interacting with. Understanding how many users are usingWi-Fi is equally important as knowing how much data those users areconsuming. Operators are far from complete visibility of application-ledusage on smartphones by their customer. The potential for addressableWi-Fi market represents opportunity bigger than previously thought.No doubt, cost benefit of Wi-Fi is vital but it’s not the only motivation.The distribution of smartphone originated traffic between cellular and Wi-Fivaries widely according to the level of deployment of public and privateWi-Fi hotspots, quality of Wi-Fi experience, maturity of Wi-Fi practices andthe pricing model of mobile data services impact the Wi-Fi usage.Nevertheless, Wi-Fi has enormous value on connectivity outside cellular bystimulating additional demand and differentiated experience. Greenpacket’ssuite of data offload approach takes cue from the market, to lead in theareas of multiple data offload options over Wi-Fi. As it is standards basedcompliant to 3GPP, the compatibility to LTE is easily achievable.Carriers making substantial investments in their carrier Wi-Fi networks alsobenefit from exploiting other provider’s hotspot assets. Some choose totake step-wise approach to minimize risk. Whichever the options preferred,it is imperative for carriers to have transparency on delivering theuser experience.
  17. 17. WHITEPAPER Discover Secrets of Wi-Fi Offload - 14Discover Secrets ofWi-Fi OffloadTake your network to the next level. Leap to the next generation of servicesnecessary to tap new shares of revenue distribution. With many consumersquick to dismiss their service providers in search of new media channelsand their fondness of smartphones for everything, it makes sense toproactively solicit user interaction over those devices and ultimatelyre-instate their value proposition of Wi-Fi, 4G, and LTE wherever needed.Embark on a journey with Greenpacket to discover the hidden secrets of Wi-Fioffloading and benefit from emerging opportunities. Turn uncertainties into astep-wise plan for enhancing your network and delighting your customers.With Greenpacket, you bring value to your subscribers and become theirpartner of communication needs.Free ConsultationIf you would like a free consultation on how you can leverage data offloadsolutions for enhanced user experience, feel free to contact us atmarketing.gp@greenpacket.com. Kindly quote the reference code,SWP1212 when you contact us.
  18. 18. For more information on Greenpacket’s products and solutions, Associateplease contact us at marketing.gp@greenpacket.com MemberSan Francisco · Kuala Lumpur · Singapore · Shanghai · Taiwan · Sydney · Bahrain · Bangkok · Hong Kong ©Copyright 2001-2013 Green Packet Berhad. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language, in anyform by any means, without the written permission of Green Packet Berhad. Green Packet Berhad reserves the right to modify or discontinue any product or piece of literature at anytime without prior notice.