Wi-Fi a key enabler for carriers to fill in the holes: Page 2 of 2

October 26, 2015 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Wi-Fi a key enabler for carriers to fill in the holes
Wi-Fi in the form of Carrier Grade is gaining traction rapidly as an inexpensive way for carriers to unify their hotspots and provide coverage in areas where cellular radio is weak. Further, Wi-Fi is providing a way to cover rural areas cost effectively, which has been a bone of contention for carriers since the beginning of the mobile revolution.

To illustrate the potential here, EUSANET, a leading German provider of satellite-based broadband access and Eutelsat Broadband have joined forces to deliver a groundbreaking broadband for rural German communities by combining satellite-based Internet services with Wi-Fi networks.

The system has the capability to deliver download speeds of up to 100 Mbps to individuals in communities of several hundred homes – outstripping the capabilities of mobile LTE technology. Further, these broadband services can be delivered quickly and without large-scale construction work in regions un- and underserved with ADSL infrastructures.

The Black Forest community of Oberried / St. Wilhelm is the first to benefit. The network went live at the end of September and combines service from the Eutelsat KA-SAT satellite with a high-speed wireless network based on the latest Wi-Fi technology. This combined system currently delivers download speeds of up to 30 Mpbs and uplink speeds of up to 5 Mbps per household but could be upgraded further in the future. The Internet access service is complemented by Voice-over-IP telephony services. The first tests to supply households with TV over the same system are also under way. This additional innovation would allow communities in some mountainous areas to receive terrestrial television for the first time.

To conclude, Wi-Fi is evolving rapidly and a quick adoption of Carrier Grade Wi-Fi could revolutionize the way carriers run their networks. In an era where costs are ever more important Wi-Fi offers the most cost effective and easiest way for carriers to cover ‘notspots’ and rural areas. Other systems can be deployed, such as small cells, but they are generally more expensive and Wi-Fi is ubiquitous as it is available on nearly every end user device.

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