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Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly important from a vendor perspective and also from operator point of view. But my argument is – has anyone looked it from a customer perspective?

Wi-Fi from big players like Cisco is using unlicensed Wi-Fi, while LTE Unlicensed will be available in 2016. This combination will increase the downlink through-tout for data hungry applications by merging them together.

That is all good and dandy but let us think from a user experience perspective who is running an application like YouTube or VOIP that needs consistency while one passes from Macro LTE into Public Wifi or Home Wifi. What will be the capacity but more importantly what will be the authentication process for smartphone users. And most importantly the user experience….I worry about the drop in call, the logging off, getting stuck user experience. Which platform will authentication, which is probably the biggest trouble at the moment, logging into an SSID and having a password, for Wi-Fi just like what you  have on cellular right now. It will get easier and maybe more [similar] to cellular, so this user experience issue are not going away anytime soon.

The players in the licensed spectrum will typically be operators but the unlicensed spectrum game is shaping up to be very interesting especially with entry of Google.

Small cell indoor and outdoor have different dynamics and business drivers. The ideal is you can put up a new small cell and have both your cellular and Wi-Fi together in one new box, and it’s still a little bit the early days for that as well because you have to look at how you integrate that new box into the whole enterprise’s system. Most enterprises have security and firewalls and authentication, so on the enterprise side, we have to help streamline that part of it.

The other indoor part is not so much enterprise, but public indoor, stadiums or Tim Hortons and so on, and perhaps that’s a little bit more straightforward. So there’s a few different use cases for small cells, each with their own challenges, and I think everybody’s kind of working on these, and perhaps we’ll overcome them.

All in all – the user experience is going to be  difficult, it’s a new way of doing things and it’s very disrupting for customer. For operator it will be more difficult to do  performance requirements the customer requires and is used to? On the customer side, if they’re buying these things piece parts, then they have to be very wary of how do they do systems integration, how do they keep their SLAs (service level agreements) and KPIs (key performance indicators). So it’s going to be challenging for the clients, industry and operators.

I think we’re at the early stages where not everybody fully understands the impact of going this way and especially the user experience.

Posted by Nauman Jaffar in 17th Nov 2014