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Carrier-grade WiFi answers increasing customer needs

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Amdocs? carrier-grade WiFi? MNO? quality of experience? cellular?

Amdocs, a provider of customer experience solutions, has released the results of an independent research exploring the transition from "best-effort" to "carrier-grade" WiFi networks among multiple service operators (MSOs) and mobile network operators (MNOs). This transition stems from emerging end-user expectations for improved capacity and quality for "everywhere" content, and the need to support additional revenue streams, the company indicated.

The Amdocs-commissioned research, conducted by Real Wireless and Rethink Technology Research, reveals plans for massive growth in carrier-grade WiFi, the different strategies operators intend deploying and the technical barriers to be overcome. According to the research, service providers realize that "best-effort" Wi-Fi is becoming less profitable and that new revenue streams can only be built once a higher quality of experience (QoE) is assured. This higher QoE is necessary for services such as TV everywhere, health monitoring, enterprise voice, online gaming, media streaming and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services. The survey also highlights the criticality of tools for carrier-grade network planning and performance management, spanning both cellular and WiFi networks, to enable the leap to new WiFi services.

According to the report, carrier-grade WiFi hotspots will grow from 14 per cent today to 72 per cent of overall WiFi hotspots by 2018. As part of their WiFi network strategy to enable WiFi coverage on the move, by 2016, 77 per cent of service providers plan to use "homespots" (where the user agrees to leave the hotspot open for use by passers-by), growing from 30 per cent today. In addition, almost all operators (85 per cent) plan to invest in carrier-grade WiFi by 2016. MSOs see carrier-grade WiFi providing better positioning in mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deals, supporting quad-play offerings and wireless services, while MNOs plan to use carrier-grade WiFi broaden their networks and offload radio access network (RAN) traffic.

By the end of 2016, 61 per cent of MSOs' WiFi hotspots and 70 per cent of MNOs' will be sourced from third parties to take advantage of shared cost savings and accelerated deployment, up from 45 per cent in today. Likewise, two-thirds (65 per cent) of respondents placed the lack of strong network planning and management tools in their top three risk factors for investing in carrier-grade WiFi, with 65 per cent stating that their existing tools will not extend well to WiFi without additional investment.

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