Wi-Fi technology will play a big part of telcos’ plans to alleviate 3G network congestions as data demands grow exponentially, according to Ruckus Wireless sales manager, Carl Jefferys.
The vendor has around 40 per cent marketshare in the carrier meshed Wi-Fi network space, according Ruckus.
“That’s pretty exciting for us because the next big thing in is helping telcos offload data from them 3G networks onto other technologies,” he said. “We think Wi-Fi is going got be a huge part of that.”
Congestion on 3G networks has been plaguing telcos due to increased data streaming demands.
Vodafone CEO, Nigel Dews, recently said the company’s 3G network services were not up to scratch after mounting complaints from users. Its customers were angry about poor mobile download speeds, constant reception dropouts and inadequate customer service.
“Carriers’ voice networks were built for carrying voice, not for things like YouTube,” Jefferys said. “Massive amounts of data are dragged down voice networks and Wi-Fi is looming as a very attractive medium for offloading more than 10-20 per cent of that traffic.”
While impeding 4G LTE networks such as the one announced by Telstra in February promise faster download speeds and increased capacity many devices today do not have support for the technology, he said.
“The cost of implementing 4G LTE is massive and when you’re talking about base stations and you want to light up smaller areas like carparts you start to think about lower cost technology such as Wi-Fi and Femtocells,” Jefferys said. “I think there is a case for a combination of technologies where each will complement each other.
“We will see access points that will be a combination of Wi-Fi and so on.”
A number of local telcos have approached Ruckus since the vendor won Best Mobile Broadband Technology by GSMA at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) its mobile Wi-Fi Gateway, Ruckus WSG, according to Jefferys.
The product is a backend equipment which allows authentication and seamless roaming from 3G networks onto Wi-Fi.
“There is a lot of very average Wi-Fi around town but the market is ripe for people to gain marketshare by building some big Wi-Fi networks,” Jefferys said.
“I think there will be a few of those popping up with people making land grabs for real estate to mount access points and also for getting hold of backhaul to link them up.”
He also saw opportunities for telcos to snap up existing community Wi-Fi and localised hotspots to help with data traffic offloading.
“There is a place for smaller operators to build up their hotspots then sell the capability to the big guys,’ Jefferys said.