Telco Operators, Rejoice! Intelligent Wifi Offload Is Here

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At the end of this blog, we answer the following frequently asked questions in addition to other topics:

Q1. What is WiFi?

Q2. What is WiFi 6?

As mobile data traffic continues to grow at an incredible pace, a new issue is emerging for many operators: how can they expand capacity to meet the demands on the network without incurring a significant rise in CAPEX and OPEX?

What Is the Best Prevailing Solution for Operators?

For many, the best solution is mobile data offload, which allows users to switch from the cellular network to an available Wifi network when consuming mobile data services. However, that’s oftentimes easier said than done. When users are roaming, they currently need to latch onto a roaming partner hotspot manually from a list of SSIDs.

This can be pretty straightforward when there’s only a few to choose from, but in dense urban areas, there may be hundreds of SSIDs. The difficulty of this process can cause user frustration and mistakes. At the same time, carriers lose the opportunity for their roaming policies to affect network selection, resulting in higher roaming fees paid to non-preferred hotspot operators, reduced service levels and poor customer experience.

What Makes Intelligent Wifi Offload the Superior Solution?

Enter intelligent offload. Many operators are now taking this route, which allows the transfer of data traffic from mobile networks, such as femtocell or small cell, to the Wifi network intelligently, seamlessly, and only when it makes sense.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is WiFi?

Put simply, Wifi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a Wifi hotspot that people in its vicinity may avail to get access to internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a Wifi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, Wifi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN, that allows for devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since Wifi signals need to carry significantly greater amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

Q2. What is WiFi 6?

WiFi stands for Wireless Fidelity and is also a common name for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). WiFi 6 is the newest and fastest version of the WiFi 802.11 wireless local area network specification standard. IEEE 802.11ax or commonly marketed as WiFi 6 by the industry body WiFi-Alliance is a major advancement over its previous generation that offers multiple devices to run concurrently on one network without compromising on the data speeds and response times.

The 802.11ax standard was approved by the IEEE on 9th February 2021 is designed to operate between 1 and 7.125 GHz, including the widely used 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. To better understand, WiFi or Wireless Fidelity devices usually translate radio waves into binary code using a technique called QAM ie Quadrature Amplitude Modulation. The older generations of WiFi are capable of 256 QAM ie it could send 8 bits of binary data in a single transmission whereas WiFi 6 is capable of 1024 QAM ie 10 bits of binary data in a single transmission.

This significant increase helps WiFi 6 devices to provide 30% faster speeds than its predecessors. The previous WiFi standards like 802.11/a/g/n/ac used OFDM which meant all of the subcarriers or tones were allocated to a single device at any instance of time. WiFi 5 introduced Multi-user MIMO enabling multiple users on the wireless medium at the same time thereby adding multiple users across different streams with each device using all of the subcarriers.

With WiFi 6, OFDMA can now portion up the individual sub-carriers or tones and these can be allocated to a number of devices. Apart from greater bandwidths, higher data speeds snd lower latencies, WiFi 6 also offers better spectrum utilisation using orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), Multi-user MIMO support, better power consumption and enhanced security protocols.

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