Carriers Kill Free Wi-Fi

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Carrier provided Wi-Fi solutions continue to gain momentum among service providers around the world, pushing out free public WiFi for paid, carrier-connected service.

Shaw Communications of Canada is conducting a trail of HotSpot 2.0 enabled by Cisco (pdf). It will enable automatic authentication ONLY for Shaw customers using smartphones and tablets.

Shaw and Cisco plan to deploy pay Wi-Fi networks throughout Western Canada. Cisco’s Ray Smets (below) explains their “carrier-grade” WiFi solution for service providers.

Cisco’s Service Provider Wi-Fi system features:

  • Increase revenue through subscriber retention
  • Protect the network with network-wide security
  • Increase capacity using unlicensed spectrum
  • Persistent IP device authentication and roaming
  • Centralized configuration and management

Other carriers utilizing “unlicensed” WiFi technology include Ruckus Wireless which was selected by The Cloud, the UK’s largest public access Wi-Fi provider, to supply indoor WiFi, expanding its nationwide Wi-Fi network.

The Cloud provides public Wi-Fi — for its subscribers.

Other carrier-controlled WiFi networks include:

With the development of 802.11n, one WiFi network can now hog ALL the available channels on the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band, effectively eliminating nearby “free” competition in a mall or other public place. Ruckus says beamforming is a solution.

Another solution would be to use the carriers’ own licensed frequencies – with femtocells.

According to anew report by In-Stat Research entitled “Wi-Fi Hotspots: the Mobile Operator’s 3G Offload Alternative,” worldwide hotspot venues are projected to increase to over 1.2 million venues in 2015 from under 421,000 in 2010. Usage will follow similar growth, increasing from four billion connects in 2010 to 120 billion connects by 2015.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 10:59 am .

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