Wi-Fi for a Connected World Towards Next Generation Networks


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Wi-Fi has established itself as one of the most popular and widespread technology today reaching millions of homes, schools, enterprises and hotspot locations worldwide. Communication has become an essential part of our lives. The ever-growing Wi-Fi networks combined with integrated Wi-Fi chipsets into thousands of devices has matured and ensured that hundreds of millions of users worldwide now make regular use of Wi-Fi to access the Internet.

The following white paper, discusses the Wi-Fi effects of connectedness shifting from people to people into the connecting a billion of devices. Today’s network consists of multiple access network technologies playing a different role in different contexts. In the race to smart next generation networks, secondary markets in embedded mobile is beginning to garner attention with greater ambitions into tertiary markets of cloud-based solutions, where anything and almost everything will be connected, regardless of geographical boundaries with the ultimate aim of cost effective development and implementation.

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Wi-Fi for a Connected World Towards Next Generation Networks

  2. 2. WHITEPAPERAbstractThe next generation networks that we envision to be would be unimaginablewith multitude of new generation of services, connected devices value chainand emerging embedded systems like telematics and automation gainingmomentum in vertical industries. Mobile devices have transformedcommunication and Internet access. Wireless technology has enabled theconcept of mobility and connectivity to expand beyond the days of laptops.Most people if not all, have ownership of a smart device that is voice, dataand Wi-Fi capable. At this very moment of reading this and downloading thepaper, you would potentially be running an application.The following sections of the paper, discusses the Wi-Fi effects ofconnectedness shifting from people to people into the connecting a billionof devices. Today’s network consists of multiple access networktechnologies playing a different role in different contexts. In the race tosmart next generation networks, secondary markets in embedded mobile isbeginning to garner attention with greater ambitions into tertiary markets ofcloud-based solutions, where anything and almost everything will beconnected, regardless of geographical boundaries with the ultimate aim ofcost effective development and implementation. This will help open doorsto attractive new services that reflect the consumer’s desire for solutionsthat they will be willing to pay for a premium.Wi-Fi is vendor neutral technology and potentially more effective alternativeto operators building high bandwidth data networks without dependencyon spectrum licensing. Wi-Fi as a complementary technology can help easetraffic by 20% with substantial impact of freeing up spectrum, whenimplemented strategically. By delivering multiple service bundles of voice,data, video, contents similar to quad-play can create “stickiness” andimprove the overall user experience. Of course, pulling together devices,network services and applications creates complexity for operators andsolution providers. In particular, the following barriers need to be addressedby operators and solution provider from the point of view of devices,integration, scalability and TCO relevant to building strong business models.Whichever the motivation for deploying Wi-Fi, be it value proposition in termsof price sensitivity, market leadership, interoperability or scalability, operatorsare quick to embrace faster time to market solutions to grow its businessmodel. Similarly, consumers benefit from a connected society that bringsthem closer to families, enriching their lives and making it more efficient.
  3. 3. WHITEPAPERContentsOverview 01Where is Wi-Fi 02Pervasive Connectivity: From Billions of 04People to Billions of ThingsGetting Wi-Fi RightMaximize Capacity, Minimize Costs with Wi-Fi 06Wi-Fi Usage- What is the User Expectation – Performance and Capacity- Where is the Spends- Business Model – Consumer or EnterpriseKey Takeaways of Wi-FiConclusion 12Think Forward with Wi-Fi 14
  4. 4. WHITEPAPER Overview - 01OverviewWi-Fi has established itself as one of the most popular and widespreadtechnology today reaching millions of homes, schools, enterprises andhotspot locations worldwide. Communication has become an essential partof our lives. The ever-growing Wi-Fi networks combined with integratedWi-Fi chipsets into thousands of devices has matured and ensured thathundreds of millions of users worldwide now make regular use of Wi-Fi toaccess the Internet.Virtually every smartphone in the market is Wi-Fi enabled. In 2010 alone,more than 1,9501 device models supporting Wi-Fi were certified by theWi-Fi Alliance, including almost 250 Wi-Fi enabled smartphones.Connections to Wi-Fi networks were historically dominated by the nomadicdevice such as laptops, but the rise of smartphones haven takenprecedence as the primary device connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, asmore and more people are connecting to the Internet conveniently, anytimeand anywhere. With the penetration of smartphones, tablets and otherconnected devices, operators are driven to enter the Wi-Fi domain at somelevel to remain competitive. Internet connectivity has gone beyondconventional communication for business processes. Increasingly, it haspermeated into the lifestyles of people, ranging from more than one aspectof M2M, NFC, telematics, healthcare, automation that directly impacts howand when interactions govern inter-connectedness.In this new era of explosive mobile data growth, rapid rise in mobilebroadband services, rich digital content such as video streaming, onlinegaming, social networking and a plethora of web2.0 applications arecontributing to unprecedented level of stress on mobile networks anddisruption to operator business models with the arrival of iconic devicessuch as the Apple iPhone, Google Android devices and iPad; leavingnetwork operators in anxiety and incapable to respond to the deluge of data. 1Source : WBA/ Informa Telecoms & Media industry survey
  5. 5. WHITEPAPER Where is Wi-Fi - 02Where is Wi-FiAccording to a recent report by WBA2, the unprecedented growth in Wi-Fi 2Note: WBA Industry Report 2011,hotspot deployments is predicted to rise 350% by 2015. It found that 58% Global Developments in Public Wi-Fiof operators - including 47% of mobile operators - believe Wi-Fi hotspots 3Source: Cisco Visual Networkingare either very important or crucial to enhance their customers’ experience; Index: Forecast andoffload busy mobile broadband networks; and provide a value-added Methodology, 2010–2015 4Source: http://www.gartner.com/it/services platform. page.jsp?id=1848514Improvement in connection speeds and innovative consumer devices,applications and content has driven an exponential growth in demand,especially for data consumption. As operators roll out or upgrade to LTE,this improvement in connection speed and capacity as we know, will driveeven greater bandwidth consumption; eventually outpacing LTEdeployments and filling up very quickly. The overall data traffic projection isexpected to increase by an annual CAGR of 32%3 from 2010 to 2015.As the world migrates inevitably and substantially towards LTE for wirelessconnection of both voice and data, the question beckons whether Wi-Fi hasa value proposition in a LTE world. True enough, Wi-Fi is embedded invirtually every mobile Internet device and common hotspot services haveformed to fill the gap in ensuring effective coverage for today’s serviceproviders worldwide that offer smartphones. A total of 440.5 million devicessold in 3Q11, of which 115 million were smartphones4 evident that demand forconnectivity is real. In a nutshell, Wi-Fi is here to stay for the foreseeable future! 6 5.8 5 4.5Public Hotspots (mil.) 4 3.3 3 2.1 2 1.3 1 0.5 0.8 0Figure 1 : Global Public Hotspots, 2009-2015Source : Informa Telecoms & Media
  6. 6. WHITEPAPER Where is Wi-Fi - 01 Overview 03 700 646 600 571 492Public Hotspots (mil.) 500 416 400 345 300 282 233 200 100 0 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Figure 2 : Global Public Hotspots, 2009-2015 Source : Informa Telecoms & Media As a measure to reduce congestion on their network, several tier 1 operators have discontinued unlimited data plans and launched tiered plans to ensure network performance, in a similar move by AT&T in the US. At the same time, operators do not want to risk losing a significant growing market of smartphone users that are looking for value added services. With greater foresight and methods, operators are turning to mobile data offloading to relieve the network congestion and to monetize their 3G and 4Gnetworks more effectively. Some operators aggressively build-out extensive networks, whereas some choose to build partnerships via Wi-Fi aggregators such as Boingo and iPass. Whichever way, operators are now seeing their strategies to pragmatic practice to strengthen its market position.
  7. 7. WHITEPAPER Pervasive Connectivity - 02 Where is Wi-Fi 04Pervasive Connectivity:From Billions of People to Billionsof ThingsWi-Fi is an enabler to transcend connectivity to the Internet of Things.Emerging wireless networking technologies—and the ability to embedconnectivity to these networks in virtually all types of devices—are creatinga new connected future. The tremendous expansion and evolution ofwireless technologies together with growing user demand for ubiquitousvoice and data access has encouraged a new generation of smart devices– giving new meaning to connected world.Handset Unit Sales Per Region, 2011 12% AME 11% APAC 14% CEE 43% LATAM 12% NA 8% WEFigure 3 : Smartphone Handset Sales 2011Source : Pyramid Research, except from UBM TechWeb’s Light Reading Communications NetworkTransforming customer experience is obviously a huge challenge. If thecustomer interaction isn’t smart, fast and effective, it will fall short ofexpectations. Transactions become more immediate and the entireexperience more cohesive and visible. It’s common for a user to juggle asmartphone, a personal phone, a laptop and a tablet, depending on thetask at a given time. As such, users are becoming more productive in theway the conduct work. Much attention has been focused on theconvenience and productivity associated with the flexibility of mobility andultimately leads to cost reduction for operators to deliver its services.
  8. 8. WHITEPAPER Pervasive Connectivity - 02 Where is Wi-Fi 05As operators modernize their networks to address its business needs,it presents opportunity for re-shaping old approaches to build and delivernew value add service by exploiting the various usage models around Wi-Fi.In order to further monetize their next-gen networks, operators have tomove from simply providing access to creating new revenue streams fromsubscribers, verticals and advertisers for a broader role in the wirelesscommunication value chain.Getting Wi-Fi RightThe perceived network performance on offer, as well as perceptions ofusability, security and privacy, will be focused on delivering access in keyvenues with high traffic demand, such as airports, hotels and urbanhotspots. Users continue to show willingness to pay for Wi-Fi services,wherever there lacks any form of connectivity. The direct relationship ofequating the usability and quality of experience will be the determiningfactor on the adoption of Wi-Fi as a genuine wireless data technology thatis compelling and seamless user experience, regardless of the location ordelivery mechanism.Connectivity has transformed the way consumers and enterprises interactwith their devices and assets. The following trends have led industry playersand end-users across the value chain toward embedded connectivity:• Consumers demand a compelling customer experience.• Consumers demand connectivity at all times.• Device manufacturers can target new segments of the consumer population.• Network providers can monetize new services.• Businesses can gain a competitive advantage over their peers.The world is changing for Operators as they offer an ever increasing array ofservices and intelligence in smartphones. While these advances have greatincome potential for the Operator, they also bring a whole array ofresponsibilities. Users expect a level of protection as they use applications likemobile banking or mHealth where privacy and personal data need to besecured. The users whether a consumer or enterprise, expects a userexperience where they are protected under any and all circumstances. Thestakes are high since users will churn if they dont feel confident of the service.
  9. 9. WHITEPAPER Maximize Capacity, Minimize Costs with Wi-Fi - 01 Overview 06Maximize Capacity,Minimize Costs with Wi-FiOne of the more significant hurdles operator deal with when consideringconnected device solutions is building a business case. On one side,operators are looking toward connectivity as a way to widen additionalbusiness models both internally and externally. On the other sidemeanwhile, operators are challenged with reducing TCO for theirconnected device investments.From a business case perspective, most successful implementations beginwith an objective of focusing on either the customer service-orientedbenefits or internal cost-efficiencies. By focusing on a key internal orexternal pain point, companies can identify KPIs that will drive ROI.However, the benefits derived from connected device implementations issubject to both internal and external (customer) metrics.Wi-Fi UsageMany if not all operators are jumping onto the Wi-Fi space to strengthenand protect its market position. Integrating Wi-Fi within the cellular networktoday can more effectively leverage on the advantage of capacity increasethat Wi-Fi brings in a unified framework. In the likely scenario of operatorrequiring capacity boost needed in the near term, along with the flexibilityand compact form factor needed for highly-localized deployments inhigh-traffic environments, overlaying Wi-Fi over existing 3G/4G networkswould be a viable option.While the macro network will continue to provide essential wide areacoverage and support for high-mobility users, operators have started tolook at other solutions to increase capacity in high-traffic areas. Wi-Fioffload is the most widely and successfully adopted solution in areas wheresubscriber density and usage is high such as urban areas, and locationssuch as airports, cafes, stadiums etc. Operators can gain incrementalrevenue per connection but take on more customer service responsibility,when strategically implementing Wi-Fi. Some of the more important
  10. 10. WHITEPAPER Maximize Capacity, Minimize Costs with Wi-Fi - 02 Where is 07considerations fall into usability, security, robustness and mobility whendeploying a WLAN network.Mobile operators can further improve network utilization by activelymanaging the traffic beyond the RAN within the core, using contentcaching, mobile device management, tiered pricing, and policyenforcement through intelligent analytics. These solutions do not increasecapacity per se, but make data transmission more efficient, allowingoperators to pack more content within the same network infrastructure.What is the User Expectation –Performance and CapacityHow much data traffic deteriorates the network quality and upsets a user?Can a user on 256kbps plan have the case to declare a network ascongested just because video streaming is slow? Would complaints bejustified when the user’s neighbor, also a subscriber to the same network,enjoys uninterrupted instant messaging sessions with his girlfriend overseas?There is never a perfect solution in network planning. What matters is todeliver a throughput level that is justifiable to subscribers and a data ratewhich is sufficient to satisfy subscriber usage with the correct definition ofservice level agreement in place.Where is the SpendsSimply put, Wi-Fi deployment into cost per byte investment to realmonetary gains is key. The cost savings can be demonstrated via theoptimization of RAN and core network as in Figure 4. Any such modeling isvery sensitive to many assumptions and situations in different regions,affecting these underlying assumptions. However, with the fundamentalassumptions of backhaul is suffice, the network planning on direct capitalexpenditure spends is one of the most significant hurdle operator encounterwhen considering a business case to build Wi-Fi deployments.
  11. 11. WHITEPAPER Maximize Capacity, Minimize Costs with Wi-Fi - 08Investments are often compared to the potential ROI and effectiveness ofthe proposed solution to derive benefits both internally and externally.Secondary to that, the critical questions beg to have a clear focus oftargeting a pain point. The likely high density demands occur in centralbusiness districts, major shopping areas, commuting hubs, airports andstadiums. There is periodic surge of activity which is fairly predictable andmanageable with the right fit of network planning by densification. Togetherwith association of service aware and subscriber aware mechanism,operators can proactively execute policy enforcement and thus generateenough business intelligence to dynamically control access and offloadbased on the criticality level. Zero spectrum fee Wi-Fi offload DPI / Policy Control Billing / OSS CRM IMS / WAC Application Server UTRAN P-GW RNC e-NB Internet Backhaul HSS / HLR EPC Macrocell Radio Access Core Network Application and ServicesFigure 4 : Optimization of Radio Access through Wi-Fi offload and Smart Traffic ManagementSource : modified from IDATE Consulting and Research
  12. 12. WHITEPAPER Maximize Capacity, Minimize Costs with Wi-Fi - 09The choice of densification of the cellular macro network by cell splitting andadding additional carriers can be useful to serve wide area coverage radius andmobility. Conversely, Wi-Fi hotspots can serve targeted capacity needs andapplications that require burst data performance. Although Wi-Fi is limited inrange of 100’s of meters in comparison to cellular range of 10’s of kilometers,there is considerable difference that arises in cost; the cost per bit or servicecharge of 3G is remarkably high, while Wi-Fi is almost free. As a matter of fact,spectrum is a rare resource. Wi-Fi being non-dependent on spectrum licensingis a significant advantage over cellular technology to deploy.Most data usage occurs in indoors (i.e. home, office and public spaces). Aswith Wi-Fi hotspots, it provides the same capacity or even more than themacro cell at targeted locations and suitable for burst data, depending onthe number of subscribers that concurrently accesses the AP. Macronetworks is challenged by the physics of indoor penetration. By providingWi-Fi hotpots it can significantly improve the performance, whereby macrocells take considerably longer due to zoning, approval permits,environmental issues and other factors. Not forgetting, the operatingexpenditure it takes to maintain the useful lifetime. Similarly, some operatorsmay choose to deploy femtocells to enhance indoor coverage, dependingon their business needs.The usage of data is affected by the amount of byte (MBs, GBs) and theintensity it is used. For example, a user in the office consumes large amountof data ranging from emails, conference calls, file sharing applications and soforth. Similarly, a user at home which is streaming a youTube video would beconsuming a lot of data. However, if the user is walking (i.e. mobile) the usermay probably be using a navigation application, which is less data intensiveand unlikely to be streaming video and watching it at the same time.Henceforth, the user is more likely to associate or describer their experiencebased on their behavior and the perceived benefit they gain from the usingthe device as opposed to the amount of bytes consumed. To this extent, theapplicability of home and office usage reflects behavior that can be fairlypredicted and provides a business case to reduce macro cellular traffic andoffloading onto Wi-Fi, so that revenue and cost trade-off is balanced.Through offload cost savings, it will benefit operators while it also benefitsconsumers as it may offer a higher quality of service (e.g. bandwidth) for themobile data connection. Although residential Wi-Fi in the home (e.g. video,music, games, voice) do not contribute to much to chargeable bytes, itmakes it appealing to consumers for reasons other than coverage andcapacity. In enterprise Wi-Fi the office can provide a growing range ofservices (e.g. VPN, email, data sharing).
  13. 13. WHITEPAPER Maximize Capacity, Minimize Costs with Wi-Fi - 10Central to the external factors of Wi-Fi, it is also important to consider theinter-network roaming among multiple networks of different standards. Thevarious means of addressing this is already in practice if not fully endorsedyet, such as 3GPP based iWLAN, ANDSF specification that allowsinter-working between WLAN networks and 3GPP based networks. WithWi-Fi Alliance and WBA driving the standardization of frameworks for theNext Generation Networks (hotpot 2.0), it will indeed represent a milestonefeat, and is a vision that will motivate industry players even more. The realend-to-end (E2E) application of wireless broadband will emerge withtechnological maturity that will allow a single terminal to seamlessly roam.Business Model – Consumer or EnterpriseThe other issue being, the business model and ownership of network iscommonly debated. Some operators choose to partner aggregators forvarious reasons of lack of support, coverage or purely for convenience.With variation of the level of connectedness, which will be the winningrecipe for operators? There are several ways to incorporate Wi-Fi accessinto a mobile operators’ service mix and the choice of solution haslong-term implications.Data subscription plans and charging methods will need to adapt changefrom the current ones in offer. Operators know that revenues will not keepup proportionally with increased data traffic, and therefore have to come upwith other alternatives. According to an ABI Research paper, data revenueswill only grow at a CAGR of about 15 to 18 percent until 2015, while datatraffic is expected to have a 42 percent CAGR rate.From the perspective of mobile cloud computing, this is imperative. Userswill always be sensitive to unexpected or unreasonable charges for datatraffic exceeding their monthly limits. They are unlikely to accept the currentpricing plans offered by operators that don’t support the expectedperformance and growth in data traffic. Nevertheless, it will be interesting tofollow both how the mobile cloud will proliferate and how operators willadapt in this premature stage.The business model for consumers and enterprise can be brought closer interms of the moving up the content value chain. In the longer run, pricefactor will become less of a contributor, but the biggest differentiatorbetween operators will be user experience, customer service andconvenience. Together with cloud solutions, enterprise communication candiminish and reduce the fragmentation of siloed systems while at the sametime give a reasonable level of operational efficiency to the operators anddeliver by the same token of convenience and performance to the end-user.
  14. 14. WHITEPAPER Maximize Capacity, Minimize Costs with Wi-Fi - 11Key Takeaways of Wi-FiWi-Fi itself has evolved through the times from being merely a connector toa key technology enabler of the Internet of Things in the last decade. Onceconsidered a poor cousin to the wireless technology, it is now a found inalmost all smart devices in the market.Being an affordable and widely accepted in the wireless ecosystem, Wi-Fiis becoming the favored alternative to address the ever growing consumerneeds to access data, applications, voice, OTT services wherever availablewith most Operators bundling Wi-Fi as part of the mobile broadbandstrategies. The obvious reason for adopting Wi-Fi has its benefits for boththe consumer and operator level.• Savings• Acquisition• Retention• Value Added Service Platform• Enhanced User Experience• Data OffloadingWi-Fi offload is an appealing option for operators that are looking tooptimize its network, while maintaining a balance and check mechanism inits investments.
  15. 15. WHITEPAPER Conclusion - 12ConclusionCellular networks such as GPRS/EDGE/EVDO/HSPA/LTE offer broadcoverage, roaming capability, and high-speed mobility. While Wi-F issuitable for high-rate and large volume indoor data services which is similarto carrier-class quality. These technologies have specific core applications,but they can be mutually supplementary.For example, subscribers can expect lower cost and high speed Wi-Fiaccess in the home, while Wi-Fi hotspot coverage is more suited for airportsor other places where broadband access needs to have a wider range andguaranteed throughput. In areas that lack Wi-Fi, cellular networks canmaintain basic service availability. Undoubtedly, the resulting QoE will beconsistently high and seamless, and the intelligent combination oftechnologies will be welcomed by subscribers. End users are mostconcerned with the balance of price and quality, and the latter is mostlyjudged by download rates. A convergence-oriented combination oftechnologies is urgently required to satisfy subscribers’ increasing demandson fees, performance, coverage, and mobility. Moreover, these demandsspan multiple networks that are embraced by a range of different standards.The convergence of technologies will become significant to synchronizebusiness processes, control and deliver services across multiple networksis an integral part of the user experience. Also, evaluating devicemanagement can profoundly impact the way consumers connect toservices. Virtualization of consumer web experience means, Operatorsmust quickly adopt social and mobile practices like Google, Amazon andApple. The human context i.e. user that is using the technology is driventhrough mobile-centric applications and interfaces, while the businesscontext primarily driven by business opportunities to turn apps stores anddeveloper marketplaces into profitable ventures by bringing the mosttalented designers. The application model of Wi-Fi is limitless, ranging fromdelivering mobile centric applications and interfaces, contextual, personaland social experiences. The evolving cloud computing architecture willimpact how and which applications are designed and linked and thusencourage diversity in terms of the pricing models for consumers orenterprises as part of broader mobile strategies including Wi-Fi.
  16. 16. WHITEPAPER Conclusion - 13Operators are recognizing the need to responding to changing demandsfrom end users to drive the development of frameworks to further enhancethe Wi-Fi user experience. Based on common standards and interest ofindustry players, WBA and Wi-Fi Alliance are harmonizing the Wi-Fiecosystem in a move towards Next Generation Hotspot and Hotspot 2.0certification respectively. Wi-Fi serves as a powerful enabler of pervasivewireless technology in terms of data traffic transmitted and transformationof the wireless data business model in years to come. Whilst the world is stillin early stage development of high speed, high capacity networks, there willcontinue to be a need for Wi-Fi infrastructure to manage both capacity andcost of service delivery.Ultimately, ability to keep up with achieving cohesive user experiencethrough robust networking is a competitive business advantage for bringinghigh quality service and sustainability in the long run with no particulartechnology platform and form factor dominance.
  17. 17. WHITEPAPER Think Forward with Wi-Fi - 14Think Forward with Wi-FiGreenpacket welcomes you to embark on Wi-Fi solutions for optimizing yournetwork operations and drive revenue. At Greenpacket, we understand thedemands placed on Operators like you. Our solutions are designed to giveyou the flexibility to constantly deliver cutting-edge offerings withoutexhausting your capital and operating expenditures.With Greenpacket, limitless freedom begins now!Free ConsultationIf you would like a free consultation on how you can apply Wi-Fi solutions,feel free to contact us at marketing.gp@greenpacket.com. Kindly quote thereference code, SWPS1211-A 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 2001-2012 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.