Wi-Fi vs cellular myths busted
Numerous myths surrounding Wi-Fi and cellular interoperability have been circulating for a long while. Some should have been banished a long time ago, and some are only just surfacing. Here we outline what we see as the top 10 myths relating to the technologies today.
First, EAP-SIM solves the Wi-Fi-Cellular interoperability problem. In fact, not every device supports EAP-SIM methods. EAP-SIM excludes all Wi-Fi only devices, which some carriers may want to ‘land-grab’ as part of their existing customer relationship.
Perhaps most critically of all, EAP-SIM delegates the switching decision to the operating system, which typically today assume Wi-Fi is always better than cellular data services. Also, EAP-SIM authentication is far from perfect. In many deployments we have worked with, we find that the Wi-Fi network access gateway allows the device to associate, but does not open internet access, leaving the device stranded.
Second, it is a connection management problem. This is an oversimplification. When you start building your solution to include extra hypernet optimized services, like data mining and analytics and business intelligence integration, for example, you are effectively building richer technology that helps to facilitate new and exciting revenue opportunities.
Third, ANDSF/ANQP will save the day. Standards in the space have been under development for years and now are starting to see the light of day. In our view, 802.11 standards—which provide the basis for wireless network products using the Wi-Fi brand—are important for user experience, authentication and security. However, the means of provisioning devices through ANDSF is not ideal. There is, for example, often a conflict between user added/self-managed Wi-Fi and carrier objectives.
Fourth, Wi-Fi is only useful at home. The bias to home usage is changing as the number of Wi-Fi hotspots accelerates and Wi-Fi usage in public places grows.
Fifth, normal people don’t pay for Wi-Fi. In our experience, users are increasingly building their own “hypernets” (the generic term to describe the ecosystem resulting from combining the internet with cellular and data networks). Many of them are trying to complete their own data access networks and usually this means that they are effectively paying for Wi-Fi as a bolt-on service from paid-for subscriptions to network and solutions providers like BT, Virgin and Sky.
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