With mobile data offloading sure to be a hot topic at next week's Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, the news that Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) is planning to demonstrate its 'smart Wi-Fi' could attract attention.
The company claims that its new technology, dubbed Smart WLAN, can be used to selectively offload data traffic from the cellular macro network to Wi-Fi without any break in service. As reported by Telecoms.com, NSN's technology bypasses a smartphone or laptop's need to manually switch its data connection between Wi-Fi and cellular broadband, handling the transition without interrupting service. NSN said that mobile operators should be able to redeploy existing services across to a Wi-Fi network for authentication, charging, policy control and traffic management using their packet core networks.
Nokia Siemens is expected to release more technical details becoming next week, and the service is expected to be commercially available in the first half of 2011.
"All these devices [smartphones, tablets and netbooks] support Wi-Fi so integrating this technology with mobile networks can reduce the need for additional capacity in the wider mobile network, particularly in traffic hotspot areas," Thorsten Robrecht, head of network systems product management at NSN, told Telecoms.com. "People can enjoy a superior and seamless service without the hassle of having to choose among different networks and technologies, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty."
However, Dean Bubley, founder of Disruptive Analysis, said that many challenges remained for making a seamless transition from cellular to Wi-Fi. "Seams are boundaries and so are important," he told ITPro. "Although sometimes the users don't want to know about them, if something happened--a change in speed, price, security, etc.--the application needs to know about it, even if the user doesn't."
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