Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Alcatel-Lucent Pursues Wireless Unified Network Strategy

Alcatel-Lucent introduced a “Wireless Unified Networks” strategy which blends the upload and download capabilities of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies to enable higher capacity and give subscribers a more consistent and higher-quality mobile voice, data and video experience in high-traffic or low-signal locations.

As part of the new strategy, Alcatel-Lucent is introducing two separate capabilities: “Wi-Fi boost”, which uses cellular to enhance the performance of Wi-Fi networks; and “Cellular boost”, which uses unlicensed spectrum to enhance the performance of cellular. Combined, they maximize performance for subscribers across both access technologies.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Wi-Fi boost technology combines the downlink of Wi-Fi with the uplink of cellular. This capability requires an OS software update to existing user devices that are capable of both cellular and Wi-Fi transmission. It also requires software updates in the network to blend the Wi-Fi and cellular access networks into a unified network.  The company calculates that Wi-Fi boost can increase download speeds up to 70% and increase upload speeds by an order of magnitude or more (compared to standalone Wi-Fi at the cell edge), while also doubling the Wi-Fi range.  Commercial availability is expected in the second half of 2015.

Alcatel-Lucent will also add a cellular downlink to the Wi-Fi downlink of the Wi-Fi boost. This pre-standard LTE Wi-Fi Aggregation (LWA) implementation can more than double download speeds relative to standalone network capabilities.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Cellular boost leverages the unlicensed spectrum bands to enhance the capacity and performance of a cellular network. Plans include the introduction of new LTE-U and Licensed Assist Access (LAA) capable small cells.

“As an industry we have historically treated cellular and Wi-Fi as unique technologies. For example, the industry debates the merits of Voice/Data over Wi-Fi versus Voice/Data over LTE. From a consumer perspective, it should simply be Voice/Data over Wireless. With Wireless Unified Networks, we are excited to be taking the important steps to transform and greatly enhance the user’s wireless experience in the home, at work, and in dense venue networks by combining existing Wi-Fi and cellular networks into one high performance network,” stated Mike Schabel, Vice President of Small Cells in Alcatel-Lucent.

Alcatel-Lucent is also presenting its new multi-standard enterprise and residential small cells and compact metro cells at #MWC15. Other innovations on display include:

  • CloudBand management system, providing a fully integrated solution that orchestrates infrastructure, applications, and network in a single virtualized NFV platform.
  • Virtualized, massively scalable Mobile and Wi-Fi gateways, including enhanced evolved Packet Data Gateway (ePDG+) support and seamless concurrent use of cellular (licensed) and Wi-Fi (unlicensed) access connections to boost performance.
  • Virtualized IMS solutions that deliver a scalable and seamless communications experience across different access networks and devices.
  • Motive customer experience management and big network analytics that deliver a more consistent, high quality experience and provide insight into network, device and application performance across the network.


See also