Cisco, Ruckus Wireless introduce carrier-class Wi-Fi solutions for smart data offload

Carrier-class Wi-Fi is expected to be a hot topic during this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, as operators look to Wi-Fi offload as a vital tool to ease network congestion. As such, Cisco and Ruckus Wireless introduced solutions to integrate Wi-Fi into mobile networks.

As part of a strategic framework that includes new solutions to enable operators to better manage and take financial advantage of the influx of mobile video and data traffic, Cisco announced its service provider Wi-Fi solution that offers an 802.11n platform with authentication to enable roaming and service delivery. When data traffic moves onto Wi-Fi networks today, operators lose visibility to the customer. Moreover, end users are required to make the choice to flip over to Wi-Fi when in range of a hotspot.

"We are positioning this as a peaceful co-existence with 4G. Both have a role," Jaishree Subramania, Cisco product marketing manager for mobility, told FierceBroadbandWireless. "The very foundation of our approach is a carrier-grade system across the entire network architecture. The key is the unification for architecture. It's all about delivering consistent Wi-Fi experience across a variety of environments, and all of this can be managed and controlled from a single point in a carrier network."

Components of the Wi-Fi solution include the Cisco Next Generation Hotspot technology, which provides the platform for authentication and roaming, along with the Cisco Aironet 1550 series outdoor wireless access point with CleanAir technology capable of handling heavy mobile data traffic loads.

Subramania said Cisco is also pushing the new 802.11u standard, which will enable Wi-Fi hotspots to advertise themselves and devices to connect to them using SIM-based authentication rather than requiring the end user to select an SSID number.  

Cisco is also working on a network monetization piece through a service enablement platform called the Mobility Services Advertisement Protocol (MSAP) designed to allow the network to deliver transient applications to mobile devices securely without user intervention. Applications include location aware services, instant maps, mobile commerce and store trackers. 

Cisco's overall framework, called Cisco MOVE (Monetization, Optimization, Videoscape Experience), also includes the Cisco Mobile Videoscape, which enables mobile operators to deliver mobile video to customers through new technology on the Cisco ASR 5000 and Cisco Unified Computing System platforms and Cisco Adaptive Intelligent Routing, designed to lower the cost of mobile data traffic by optimizing data traffic routing.

Ruckus Wireless introduced a product and technology road map that includes a new category of mobile Wi-Fi gateways designed to integrate Wi-Fi into mobile network infrastructures. The Ruckus Mobile Wi-Fi portfolio features a new wireless services gateway (WSG), that acts as a central point of control for the company's Smart Wi-Fi access points while enabling seamless service integration with the mobile core. Ruckus said it has also extended its patented BeamFlex smart antenna and Smart Mesh backhaul technologies to enable broad deployment of multi-access, small cell base stations in the future. 

For more:
- see this Cisco release
- read this Ruckus Wireless release

Related articles:
Ruckus scores deal with China Telecom unit for large-scale WiFi deployment
Ruckus introduces WiFi products specifically for data offload
Cisco: Mobile video will be 66% of data traffic by 2015 
Ruckus Wireless introduces 802.11n access point for outdoor market 
The new data offloading industry
Ruckus jumps into cable WiFi business