MWC 2012 Preview: BelAir Networks unveils latest enhancements to its GigXone small cell Wi-Fi system

The new enhancements are designed to make it faster for users to access wireless broadband and video services, as well as reducing service provider costs and complexity when integrating large Wi-Fi systems to existing networks

MWC 2012 Preview: BelAir Networks unveils latest enhancements to its GigXone small cell Wi-Fi system

Wi-Fi systems provider BelAir Networks today (14 February) announced the latest enhancements to its GigXone small cell wireless system. The key changes involve improvements to speed up and simplify the deployment and management of large Wi-Fi networks utilising tens of thousands of access points (APs), while optimising video-based applications and services for users.

Ronny Haraldsvik, senior VP and chief marketing officer at BelAir, told Wireless: ‘The changes are about making the scalability and integration of Wi-Fi networks easier. We know we can deploy a massive scale Wi-Fi network of metrocells, or cable co-location with macro cells or a cable embedded system. We can deploy our system quickly, not just from a set up point up point of view, but also from an integration point of view because we have provisioning templates.

‘Our product comes with network management systems, we have GPS in the APs, so we know where they are. We believe our system can be deployed four times faster in a large network than any of our rivals, thanks to our hardware, software and management tools, so this will help cuts costs for operators. It’s all about improving the user experience and being able to monitor how well the network performs,’ said Haraldsvik.

Haraldsvik said that its operator customers, which BelAir focuses on exclusively, are asking it to find ways to speed up and simplify the scaling up of Wi-Fi networks and the way they are integrated into existing 2G, 3G and LTE networks to help them meet the demand for data and provide offload for traffic.

He added that the company will be talking about scalability, integration and providing subscribers with a no-touch experience at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February.

‘The subscriber does not care what the radio is; they just want it to work. We need to help them access the Wi-Fi network by using auto-authentication, or if you are not a subscriber, by providing a simple splash page that allows you to sign on and get free or paid for Wi-Fi,’ said Haraldsvik.

The GigXone system is designed to offer ‘Gig Zone’ (i.e. 1Gb throughput) indoor and outdoor services with improved network capacity to cater for the millions of subscribers wanting to use video and other rich applications that consume between 60% and 70% of network capacity. This can be done without having to retrofit core or access networks to work with systems built for indoor enterprise Wi-Fi access. The latest GigXone system integration features and improvements include:

Access network improvements

• Video over Wi-Fi hardware-based features improve video buffering speeds by up to 500% reducing jitter and latency

• ‘No-touch’ access to Gig Zones: BelAir says it is the first to use auto-authentication using EAP-SIM/AKA

• Cellular and Wi-Fi co-location interference rejection: high performance filters minimise interference when co-located or integrated with licensed spectrum radios

• Latest 802.11n APs leverage latest beamforming technology to provide 50% better coverage and more reliable connections in both up and downlink with up to 900Mbps per AP

• All APs function as policy enforcement points removing reliance on core gateways to handle basic security access functions for local offload

• APs ship with GPS auto-location features to track network elements

• Band steering, auto channel scanning and beamforming improve device performance: airtime fairness ensures devices operating at high modulation rates receive their fair share of available time-based spectrum; full support for legacy and standardised beamforming.

Core integration

• GPRS Tunneling Protocal (GTP) AP and controller support for GTP-C, GTP-U and GTP-P ensures the transport and control of user data between various access nodes in 2G, 3G and LTE networks, thus improving the overall integration of service provider networks with mobile networks

• Dynamic zone configuration: BelAir Carrier Cloud (CC8000) and BelAir4000 Hot Zone (HZ4000) controllers support provisioning of subtended access points and can manage multiple network zones for access and services. This gives service providers the flexibility to set up different configurations for consumers, business customers and roaming partners who require a different northbound tunnelling path for billing and policy enforcement

• GigXone systems and products already integrate with leading gateways from major equipment providers such as Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco

Management and scaling

• BelView Network Management supports up to 100,000 APs and provides comprehensive fault, configuration, accounting, performance and security functions that reduce deployment and troubleshooting time and speed up deployments of APs by up to four times faster than rivals for very large network deployments

• Provisioning templates simplify the deployment of tens of 1,000s of network elements; GPS inside APs provides accurate location information; software can be updated remotely

• Access aware features, auto-provisioning templates and flexible remote software updates enable completely automated out-of-the-box configuration of Wi-Fi hotspots to enable the ‘network-in-a-box’ model. This opens up new revenue models for managed wireless services for business customers

• BelAirOS Release 12 operating system software boosts individual AP performance by 15-20% for better access to all content and services, improving mobile offload and capacity handling by hundreds of Terabytes per month for small cell networks in a metropolitan area

BelAir Networks believes the virtualisation capabilities of its APs allows service providers to leverage one network deployment many times over with different users, as each AP can support different and segregated services at the same time. This is done by assigning unique SSIDs by network, group, zone and individual subscriber, thereby catering for each service provider’s existing policy and billing settings.

Virtual AP also enables service providers to offer a variety of managed services to subscribers, businesses, schools, building owners and others via shared or hosted network access. This would provide new business models that could potentially unlock billions of revenues, BelAir Networks believes.

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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