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Femto Forum working on Wi-Fi offload–that’s right

01 ноября 2011

The Femto Forum is quite the busy when it comes to standards, always trying to get its technologies incorporated into whatever release the 3GPP happens to working on. Its latest standardization work is somewhat bizarre for on organization dedicated to promulgating femto and small cell technology. The Forum is developing carrier Wi-Fi offload technologies.

No, the Forum hasn’t thrown into towel, conceding that Wi-Fi will be the offload and additive capacity of the future. Rather it’s trying to find a middle ground where Wi-Fi and femtos cannot only coexist but communicate simultaneously with the same devices, said Andy Germano, the Forum’s vice chair. Femtocell makers recognize that Wi-Fi has plenty of uses, but there are things that an access point dumb to the carrier’s network just can’t do, Germano said. The Forum wants to develop guidelines and interfaces that will allow for both technologies to play up their strengths, Germano said.

The Forum wants the mobile cellular network to make all decisions over what’s routed to Wi-Fi, rather than have phones simply switch over to an access point and disappear from the network. By maintaining a constant signaling connection over the cellular network the carrier can then decide the optimal network for traffic to take. For instance, if a customer is viewing over-the-top video, the network senses it can’t add any value to the transaction and shunts that data stream over to Wi-Fi. If, however, the customer is accessing a service like voice or messaging provided by the operator, the network could chose to keep that traffic on its own systems as it would be routed straight to its core anyway. The technology would be versatile enough that networks can route data simultaneously over both Wi-Fi and cellular, Germano said. For instance a video service provide by or in partnership with the operator could maintain an signaling link with the device for authentication, billing and value-added features, while running the raw video stream over Wi-Fi.

If this all sounds like a technology InterDigital and PicoChip recently proposed, there’s a reason. InterDigital is actually leading the Femto Forum working group developing the Wi-Fi specification. The Forum is hoping that converged Wi-Fi access point/femtocells will emerge from the work, creating a super offload hotspot of sorts, but it is also working with other groups in 3GPP to make the standard node independent. That would allow devices to communicate simultaneously with the macro network and the Wi-Fi network.

Источник: Connected planet

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