Feature Article

March 05, 2013

InterDigital, ip.access Demo Automated LTE-to-Wi-Fi Handoff for QoS Purposes

InterDigital and ip.access, last week at Mobile World Congress, joined forces to demonstrate how network operators can move calls and data back and forth between LTE and Wi-Fi-based carrier connections, to ensure optimal customer connectivity.

That way, if a customer with an LTE-capable handset is using a Wi-Fi network that becomes congested, the network can dynamically switch that customer to LTE to maintain the required quality of the service to that user, explained Emmanuela Micallef, ip.access senior marketing manager, who met with MobilityTechzone last week in Barcelona.

Of course, that’s different than the traditional method of moving between cellular and Wi-Fi networks, as the current method relies on customers manually turning off Wi-Fi on their mobile devices so they’re forced to run on the cellular network.

Nick Johnson, founder and CTO at ip.access, commented, “One of the issues with Wi-Fi networks is that as more people try to join them … the service gets worse for everyone – even those already connected. It isn’t a question of being connected and maintaining a good service with others blocked out – the Wi-Fi unit tries its hardest to accommodate everyone with the result that often nobody is getting a good service.”

“Our system allows for the integrated small cell to detect that issue and switch people to the LTE signal,” he continued. “This not only gives the LTE customer an enhanced service, it unloads the Wi-Fi network and so improves that service for the rest of the users.”

Just prior to Mobile World Congress, ip.access announced that it has shipped one million small cells. The company has been in the small cell industry for a decade, having started out with enterprise 2G solutions, then expanding to 3G residential applications – and now also addressing enterprise 3G and LTE deployments.

The company is also working to strengthen its backend deployment solutions, having invested in a gateway that can accept 2G, 3G and 4G cards.

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