Network company ituma, based in Hilden, Germany, has collaborated with Wi-Fi manufacturer Ruckus Wireless to develop a technically-advanced new Wi-Fi platform, combining hardware, software, and marketing capabilities. Unitymedia, a subsidiary company of global TV and broadcast multinational Liberty Global, is one of the first cable network operators to adopt the platform.
Wi-Fi is already an everyday feature in the office and at home, but the rapid growth of mobile devices means that connectivity in public areas is of increasing importance. According to ituma, service providers must address technical challenges, while also providing user-friendly marketing concepts and content. Ituma believes that the solution it has developed in cooperation with Ruckus Wireless will provide the answer.
The Association of German Internet economy has acknowledged that public Wi-Fi infrastructure is growing rapidly. For large service providers, this opens up new business opportunities, yet at the same time it presents certain technical challenges.
The ituma system has been specifically designed with these challenges in mind, and by using its ‘Admin Care - Web Portal’, network operators can gain access to an extensive toolkit, including the inventory of its client’s access points plus monitoring, reporting and integrated databases.
The system meets all requirements of a modern carrier-grade provider the company claimed, with a particular focus on scalability, minimised downtime, and data security. In addition, the platform provides marketing support, allowing business customers to create bespoke landing pages via its ‘B2B web portal’.
Ituma managing director Simon Marg commented: "The idea behind our Wi-Fi platform is to handover a tool set to large service providers combining availability, legal security, comprehensive data maintenance and exciting marketing opportunities."
Complete package for service providers
Unitymedia, active in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg (all Germany), is one of the first cable network operators to adopt the new platform. The company, which is part of global TV and broadband multinational Liberty Global, has taken over 1,000 public Wi-Fi access points, with so-called Wi-Fi spots. In addition, for business customers, the company offers a “Powerspot”, allowing café owners to provide free Wi-Fi for their customers.
On the technical side, the Unitymedia system combines Wi-Fi access points from Ruckus Wireless with a reliable wireless access gateway (WAG). The latter accesses a Triple-A-Server, which acts as the ‘Gatekeeper’ managing user authentication and authorisation.
Ituma developed an Admin Care - Web Portal solution for the related content management system (CMS) which facilitates multiple applications, including a central inventory of access points (APs) and client management capabilities. Time-consuming operations, such as access point allocation, functionality reviews or granting access, are now completed in a few clicks.
In addition, the easy-to-use system provides administrators insight into performance and cluster-aware databases with user information. Comprehensive monitoring and reporting tools ensure a dependable customer experience, with smooth ticketing functionality and swift inquiry resolution, and the authentication of use requests is fully automatic.
High user numbers - high security
The ituma system is not limited to regional service providers. "With our Wi-Fi platform we aim not only at regional providers. Both the technical infrastructure and the connected marketing opportunities allow us to address large user volumes," explained Marg. “Together with our partner Ruckus Wireless, ituma ensures 99.99% reliability for our network partners.”
This high scalability through the carrier-grade enabled system is critical to providing Wi-Fi services in the current environment. The ituma system also ensures legal protection, protecting companies from possible legal violations via public hotspots. This applies to the requirements of Governments and Federal Network Agencies as well as the European rules on ‘Lawful Intercept’.
Individual content for B2B customers
A technically perfect Wi-Fi system in public spaces not only ensures that end users have free Internet via Smartphone, but also enables business owners to use existing networks for marketing campaigns in their cafés, barbershops or restaurants.
For operators, this opens up completely new fields of business. They can now rent out their hotspots to business customers and provide customised content - a key differentiator. For this purpose, the ituma platform provides individual landing pages as well as a customisation toolkit via the B2B web portal.
Shop owners can quickly and easily create a tailored wireless home for their businesses, with any modifications or updates only a few clicks away. Since creation generates an automatic imprint, so business owners are covered with absolute legal certainty, and the portal is bilingual.
Marg explained: "It is only logical that extensive Wi-Fi networks with individualised content do not end at a country’s border. Several European network operators are interconnected and synergies are created easily. Our user interface has been available from the start in German and English."