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Cellular 4G/LTE Channel / Industry News / Small/Pico/Femto Cells Channel

ip.access shows dynamic WiFi integration with LTE small cells

February 13, 2013
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Leading small cell innovator ip.access will use the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this month to showcase another breakthrough innovation.

Founder and CTO Nick Johnson said the company, in collaboration with InterDigital, will be highlighting the possibilities of dynamically switching calls and data traffic from LTE to carrier provided WiFi and back again in order to deliver the best user experience.

“Our technology showcase will demonstrate WiFi and LTE within a single small cell with operator controlled dynamic switching between the two signals – even potentially mid data or video stream,” he said.

“Put simply, if a customer with an LTE-capable handset was using a WiFi network that became congested, the network could be configured to dynamically switch that customer to LTE to maintain the required quality of the service to that user, and the performance of the network for all users,” he explained.

Currently mobile handsets, not networks, take the lead in selecting which service to use with nearly all smartphones looking to default to WiFi where it is available.  If the WiFi service is congested, customers have to manually force the phone onto the cellular network – often by switching off the WiFi capability.  With this ip.access innovation, operators will be able to maintain connections using the best signal available without the customer having to manually intervene.

“One of the issues with WiFi networks,” said Johnson, “is that as more people try to join them, so the service gets worse for everyone – even those already connected.  It isn’t a question of being connected and maintaining a good service with others blocked out – the WiFi unit tries its hardest to accommodate everyone with the result that often nobody is getting a good service.”

“Our system allows for the integrated small cell to detect that issue and switch people to the LTE signal.  This not only gives the LTE customer an enhanced service, it unloads the WiFi network and so improves that service for the rest of the users.”

“InterDigital is excited to work with ip.access to showcase the power of policy-based bandwidth management technology as the solution to many of today’s network problems including congestion, coverage and user experience” said Allen A.  Proithis, EVP of InterDigital Solutions Group.

ip.access unveiled its first LTE small cell at the 2012 mobile world congress, based on the QorIQ Qonverge® platform from US chip maker Freescale, and Johnson also confirmed that they have been shipping LTE small Cells  to customers from around mid-2012.   He said, the company is on course and pressing ahead with its production plans for LTE small cells, including integrated 3G and WiFi, but added that ip.access would be seeking feedback from the operator community on its dynamic switching capability before scheduling that feature into its roadmap.

To learn more about LTE small cells with dynamic WiFi integration, visit ip.access at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 25-28 in Hall 7 Stand E105.  

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