Wi-Fi off-load, one of the most widely-discussed technology trends of 2011, is usually mentioned in the context of moving data traffic from mobile networks to private Wi-Fi hotspots to relieve mobile congestion in home or business coverage areas. However, if carriers could find ways to off-load other kinds of traffic, and to public hotspots as well as private ones, they would acquire much greater network management flexibility.
Vendor Kineto Wireless has been working on that challenge, already offering a Smart Wi-Fi application to enable off-loading of different traffic types, such as messaging traffic and Rich Communications Services traffic, to Wi-Fi facilities. Kineto recently added new capabilities to enhance end user service experience when connected to public hotspots.
One of those features, Smart Connect, simplifies and quickens the process of logging on to public Wi-Fi hotspots for mobile smartphone users. The potentially more compelling new feature is Smart Offload, which allows carriers and end users to choose and prioritize traffic to be off-loaded to Wi-Fi according to the whether the hotspot they are off-loading to is public or private. That feature could help carriers and users avoid the off-loading of especially sensitive traffic to public hotspots where inconsistent performance may be encountered, while letting them automatically off-load all of their traffic when logged on to a reliable private hotspot.
Though Wi-Fi off-load from macro mobile networks appears to be a growing trend, mobile operators for the most part have yet to embrace the idea of off-loading anything but data traffic. Having greater flexibility in selecting traffic to off-load could help, but it will be interesting to see how far they will go to off-load some types of traffic, like voice, that they traditionally have insisted requires a higher-quality network for transport.
- check out this GigaOM post
Off-loading to Wi-Fi became increasingly popular last year
T-Mobile USA testified to the popularity of Wi-Fi off-loading