Mobile operators offloading their data traffic to Wi-Fi need the latest and greatest testing and monitoring solutions to ensure the Wi-Fi networks being used meet carrier-grade quality requirements, and that will drive continued growth in the market for Wi-Fi test equipment, according to a new study from Frost & Sullivan.
U.S. cable operators are expected to deploy some 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots by early 2015, according to analysts at Heavy Reading. The forecast was released in Denver during the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) convention.
Cable operators have dallied in wireless numerous times over the years, but nothing has really stuck. Their Pivot and SpectrumCo initiatives came and went, and it seemed the MSOs might never carve out a significant role in wireless communications. But their wireless prospects changed for the better as soon as they started dabbling in unlicensed, rather than licensed, spectrum and nomadic, rather than highly mobile, services.
The Small Cell Forum is preparing a new technical release that will tackle deployment of small cells in rural and remote areas, and it is also initiating a work stream aimed at introducing virtualization into the small cell arena, said the group's top executives.
Cellular carriers now offload data traffic to Wi-Fi in nearly 80 percent of U.S. states, an increase of 2 to 3 percent compared to results from the fourth quarter of 2013, according to wefi's latest Wi-Fi analytics report, which focused on trends from 2014's first quarter.
Time Warner Cable took the wraps off My WiFi, an online customer portal that positions the company's networks of Wi-Fi hotspots as a stronger competitor to cellular.
Trying to get executives from leading cable operators to spill the goods regarding the likelihood that their Wi-Fi networks might someday provide head-to-head competition against cellular networks has become something of a parlor game for analysts and media. I, too, gave it a shot when I recently got the opportunity to speak with Rob Cerbone, vice president of wireless products at Time Warner Cable.
Wi-Fi hotspot deployments worldwide reached 4.2 million hotspots last year and should exceed 10.5 million in 2018, predicts ABI Research. The estimates include Wi-Fi hotspots deployed by mobile and fixed-line carriers as well as third-party operators.
Comcast announced that it now has 1 million U.S. Wi-Fi hotspots. The news was released amid rumors that the cable MSO is thinking of launching a Wi-Fi-centric wireless service.
Devicescape CEO Dave Fraser said that while the company, a key provider of a virtualized carrier Wi-Fi network, is in favor of the Hotspot 2.0 standard, that is only an interim solution and more technology is needed to deliver greater value to carriers from Wi-Fi networks.