UK small cell solutions provider ip.access will use the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this month to showcase, in collaboration with InterDigital, the possibilities of dynamically switching calls and data traffic from LTE to carrier provided Wi-Fi and back again in order to deliver the best user experience.
Founder and CTO Nick Johnson said: ‘Our technology showcase will demonstrate Wi-Fi and LTE within a single small cell with operator controlled dynamic switching between the two signals – even potentially mid data or video stream.
‘Put simply, if a customer with an LTE-capable handset was using a Wi-Fi 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,’ explained Johnson.
Currently mobile handsets, not networks, take the lead in selecting which service to use with nearly all smartphones looking to default to Wi-Fi where it is available. If the Wi-Fi service is congested, customers have to manually force the phone onto the cellular network – often by switching off the Wi-Fi capability.
However, with ip.access’s 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 Wi-Fi 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 Wi-Fi network and so improves that service for the rest of the users.’
Allen A. Proithis, EVP of InterDigital Solutions Group, added: ‘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.’
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 it has been shipping LTE small cells to customers from around mid-2012.
He said that the company is on course and pressing ahead with its production plans for LTE small cells, including integrated 3G and Wi-Fi, 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.
ip.access is at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, 25-28 February in Hall 7 Stand E105.