Viable Carrier Wi-Fi Starts with ANDSF

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Viable Carrier Wi-Fi Starts with ANDSF

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets have made users a little more ornery. They now expect both a high quality of experience and high bandwidth availability to run their mobile devices. Yet, this can be a challenge for operators.

One solution to tackle the bandwidth issue is leveraging carrier Wi-Fi, which eases the cellular load. But Wi-Fi has historically been challenging in terms of user experience, as logins and moving between cellular reception and Wi-Fi have made the experience anything but simple and elegant.

Policy empowered carrier Wi-Fi control looks to change that, however, delivering both bandwidth and a high quality of experience. This empowered Wi-Fi is possible thanks to 3GPP, Access Network Discovery and Selection Function (ANDSF).

ANDSF allows a client-server relationship between a client on a mobile device and a centralized server to allow service providers and network operators to manage carrier Wi-Fi access, basically. It opens a communication channel between the server and the device, enabling operators to let users seamlessly move between cellular and carrier Wi-Fi signals without additional authentication state loss.

“With this policy empowered Wi-Fi control, operators can manage carrier Wi-Fi access, in coordination with cellular access, to deliver a consistent quality of experience,” noted a recent TechZine post by Alcatel-Lucent’s Nicholas Cadwgan and Laurent Guégan, Policy Empowered Carrier Wi-Fi Control.

ANDSF is relatively new. One of the first devices to fully support the technology is Alcatel-Lucent’s  5780 Dynamic Services Controller (DSC) Wi-Fi Control Module. It not only leverages ANDSF to mix carrier Wi-Fi and cellular access, it also manages network selection by using multi-dimensional parameters to intelligently and dynamically make decisions about which carrier Wi-Fi access options are available to the subscriber.

It does this with the company’s Agile Rules Technology (A.R.T.), a policy rules engine with 150 patents pending.

“A.R.T. has been used to define policies to personalize and streamline new service options leveraging information such as location, time, network status and intelligence as well as subscriber profile information,” noted the authors. “The solution has been demonstrated to optimize network usage based on intelligent decisions which can be used to alleviate load from over-utilized cells while maximizing the existing licensed spectrum.”

The engine allows services to be created and modified quickly and easily without long lead times and consulting costs, offers a broad set of customizable service capabilities and parameters without requiring new software updates/upgrades, delivers exceptional performance, handles complex use cases with detailed policy rules and data processing scaled across many subscriber broadband sessions with little performance degradation, and simplifies maintenance according to the company.

Taken together, ANDSF and technologies such as A.R.T. help operators keep pacing with growing user expectations.

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