Monday, February 27, 2012

Cisco Leaps Forward in the Small Cell + Hot-Spot 2.0 Market

Cisco is pushing ahead into the market for carrier-grade, end-to-end Wi-Fi and small-cell infrastructure.

At Mobile World Congress, Cisco unveiled Next-Generation Hotspots (NGH) for seamless roaming, as well as a new Small Cell Gateway based on the Cisco ASR 5000 Series Mobile Multimedia Core Router.

For its Wi-Fi access points, Cisco is now embedding Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA)-approved NGH technology based on the Hotspot 2.0 specification established by the Wi-Fi Alliance. The company has deployed over 12 million access points, the majority of which can now be upgraded to support NGH. These include access point solutions aimed at in-flight Wi-Fi, retail hotspots, stadium and large venue coverage, and extensive data offload deployments. Seamless Wi-Fi carrier roaming uses the SIM card and the network for authentication, making it much easier for users to access Wi-Fi networks where available.

Upgrades to the Cisco ASR 5000 Series Mobile Multimedia Core Router will now enable operators to manage subscriber and service information while integrating 2G/3G/4G LTE and femtocell (licensed) networks with Wi-Fi (unlicensed) networks. Potentially, service providers could also manage the Wi-Fi infrastructure of enterprise customers, providing their roaming users with seamless secure access to additional hotspots under this framework. PCCW, the mobile operating division of HKT, recently completed a commercial trial of the highly secure roaming provided by NGH via Cisco's service provider Wi-Fi solution in locations around Hong Kong.

Cisco is also working with Shaw Communications to deploy an extensive and advanced Wi-Fi network in Western Canada to provide broadband wireless access. The company cited other notable small cell deployments with AT&T, BT, Portugal Telecom, and Thailand's TrueMove H, among others.

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