KDDI rolls out nationwide Wi-Fi access

John C. Tanner
telecomasia.net
KDDI is rolling out a nationwide Wi-Fi access service across Japan that leverages its Wimax spectrum for backhaul and serves as a data offload solution for its CDMA EV-DO network.
 
Subscribers of KDDI's flat-rate 3G mobile data plan can use the new "au Wi-Fi Spot" service free of charge with au Android smartphones in over 10,000 locations initially, and another 90,000 locations by March next year.
 
The initial rollout is focused on indoor coverage, with dual-band 802.11 indoor access points from Wi-Fi solutions vendor Ruckus Wireless deployed in venues throughout Japan. Each AP is connected to a Wimax router for backhaul connectivity.
 
The service leverages Ruckus’s platform to allow subscribers to be authenticated to Wi-Fi hot spots instantly via the same credentials embedded in the smartphone used to connect to KDDI’s EV-DO network.
 
Ruckus’ solution is designed around the fact that while Wi-Fi hotspots are a quick and cost-effective way for cellcos to inject wireless capacity in high-traffic areas to offload traffic, a major barrier to adoption has been lack of integration between Wi-Fi and cellular, said Ruckus CEO Selina Lo.
 
“Most operators who have Wi-Fi networks haven’t integrated the AAA in the backend, and they keep two separate databases of subscribers, so the Wi-Fi is completely detached from the cellular network,” Lo told telecomasia.net.
 
“Now operators are getting to the point where they can’t afford to run Wi-Fi as a separate network and want to see some kind of integration, so that the backend can see when a cellular subscriber and a Wi-Fi subscriber is the same subscriber,” she said.
 

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