Alcatel-Lucent is making it easier for mobile device owners to access the Internet via Wi-Fi networks, at home or in hotspot locations, with the launch of lightRadio Wi-Fi.
When integrated into mobile networks and small-cell base stations, lightRadio Wi-Fi will allow smartphones, tablets and other devices to switch automatically from 2G, 3G and LTE cellular networks to Wi-Fi and back again – without the need for their owners to enter complex passwords or search for a secure wireless network to connect to.
The explosive demand for mobile broadband access is being driven by the mass adoption of smartphones, tablets and laptops, all of which are Wi-Fi enabled. Wi-Fi provides low-cost, high-capacity connections to the Internet including Cloud-based applications and storage and has become universally adopted by consumers. However, confusion can arise when faced with complex Wi-Fi network log-in procedures and the many and varied ways to pay for using them.
There are often concerns about the level of security offered by an unfamiliar network too. lightRadio Wi-Fi removes this complexity, allowing owners of mobile devices to roam between a cellular network and residential, privately- and publicly-owned Wi-Fi networks and hotspots safe in the knowledge that these connections are secure. Security is a key concern for many people, especially those accessing services and streamed content from the Cloud, expecting uninterrupted services such as video streaming or phone calls.
lightRadio Wi-Fi offers a radical departure from the traditional way that mobile operators apply Wi-Fi. Today it is typically used to ‘offload’ traffic from service providers’ congested wireless networks.
It offers an integrated approach enabling subscribers to stay within their network and service plan and service providers to continue recognizing revenue, independent of how the customer is connected.
The lightRadio Wi-Fi approach is also highly applicable for fixed-line and cable service providers, allowing them to extend wireless coverage to existing subscribers without having to invest in expensive spectrum or wireless infrastructure, the company said.
Ken Rehbehn, a principal analyst at Yankee Group said: ‘Delivering secure, seamless access to Wi-Fi networks is a key requirement in the market right now. Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio Wi-Fi provides operators with a comprehensive solution that smartly draws from the company's strengths in radio access technology and IP routing. The result is an offer that lets operators leverage existing network assets while delivering demanding smartphone users an outstanding customer experience.’
Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless division said: ‘With lightRadio Wi-Fi, Alcatel-Lucent gives service providers new options to meet consumers’ fast-growing broadband requirements. Extending our groundbreaking lightRadio portfolio, service providers will be able to build closer relationships with their customers by delivering seamless high-speed broadband connections, wherever they are, using LTE and Wi-Fi networks. For subscribers, this approach provides the peace of mind they want when accessing the Internet wherever they go.’
Alcatel-Lucent is extending the lightRadio ecosystem to allow service providers access to the widest range of Wi-Fi networks. Alcatel-Lucent is collaborating with several major Wi-Fi access point companies to ensure interoperability.
The company will be demonstrating the product at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from 27 February to 1 March 2012.