|Issue:||Asia-Pacific III 2013|
|Topic:||Addressing Mobile Data Capacity in APAC|
|Title:||David Callisch, VP of Marketing|
David Callisch is vice president of corporate marketing at Ruckus Wireless. With over 15 years of experience in marketing and marketing communications, David has focused his efforts on the networking hardware industry, and is a fountain of information on this subject. He has extensive experience in helping networking startups identify market opportunities, establish defensible differentiation, and create a unique brand.
Before Ruckus, he was the director of communications at Aruba Networks, helping to launch the company and build the wireless LAN switching market segment. Previously, he served as director of communications at Allegro Networks, a supplier of carrier routing equipment, and held marketing positions at Alteon WebSystems, StrataCom, SynOptics/Bay Networks, and BT North America.
David Callisch holds a BA in Communications/PR from San Jose State University.
There’s a gathering storm of devices on the edge of the network, demanding connection to the Internet, and operators will get the blame if subscribers can’t get their connections, for lack of IPv6 support. Heavy edge-of-network areas, such as airports, shopping mals and enterprise campus sites, can now deploy carrier-grade intelligent Wi-Fi systems that cope with such increased traffic.
IPv6 elevates the strategic role of Wi-Fi for MNOs
Industry estimates suggest that mobile data traffic nearly doubled in the Asia Pacific region during 2012, outperforming the rest of the world. This momentum is set to continue. Forecasts from research firm Analysys Mason indicate that by 2018 the region will account for 4 billion mobile connections, which represent over half of the worldwide total.
These changes affect how mobile network operators (MNOs) deliver Internet connections to mobile users. With IPv6 waiting in the wings – a giant leap in the acknowledgement of the size of the mobile traffic market – networks are looking to augment the coverage they offer.
Operators must employ effective strategies to address this astounding growth in mobile data usage with solutions that are scalable. This will allow operators to deal with the needs and expectations of every category of user segment – including data, TV and video streaming direct to the mobile device. It will also help operators address every environmental or location challenge – from dense usage environments to difficult-to-serve intense urban concentrations.
The next phase in the development and evolution of the global carrier and operator Wi-Fi landscape will, without doubt, continue to be focused on the issue of capacity. The unceasing proliferation of mobile devices and the relentless demand for data connections is changing the way MNOs view their options.
On top of voice services at the basic capability level, access to video streaming, TV services and mobile data at the next level are driving usage growth. With so many people trying to constantly connect, networks have to find ways of inflating themselves, without constantly reinvesting in infrastructure. It is becoming less feasible to lay further cables to access areas or population densities where further physical disruption is simply unacceptable to the authorities and public. The advent of Internet Protocol version 6, or IPv6, concentrates strategic thinking very sharply.
Every device on the Internet must be assigned an IP address in order to communicate with other devices. With the ever-increasing number of new devices being connected to the Internet, the need arose for more addresses than IPv4 is able to accommodate. IPv6 is the latest revision of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the Internet. IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to deal with the long-anticipated problem of IPv4 address exhaustion.
The cost of building out the network to meet the expanding market can be prohibitive; there must be an easier and more cost-effective solution. Operators are finding such solutions throughout the APAC region, namely in the form of smarter approaches to Wi-Fi. IPv6 should be viewed as far more than an innovative fix for the burgeoning address book. As a protocol, the ‘what it is’ signifies no immediate cause for concern. It’s not a step-change; it’s simply the next step, to be taken at a natural point in the evolution of the Internet.
By 2017, says a report from Cisco, “41 per cent of all global mobile devices and connections could potentially be capable of connecting to an IPv6 mobile network. Over 4.2 billion devices and connections will be IPv6-capable in 2017.” IPv6 will co-exist alongside IPv4 for some time to come. There’s a gathering storm of devices on the edge of the network, demanding connection to the Internet, and operators will get the blame if subscribers can’t get their connections. However, operators will reap the rewards if the connections are in place to provide the seamless experience in locations and to subscribers where it really counts; high traffic locations such as airports, or even areas permanently occupied by heavy Internet users (e.g., university campuses and their huge student populations with multiple mobile devices in use).
Wi-Fi adds capacity, coverage and scalability at the edge
With the significant increases in mobile data traffic expected over the next four years, it very much looks like some operators will lack the network capacity to cope with the traffic. According to market researchers, even a four-fold increase in spectral efficiency, gained from new wireless technologies such as LTE (long-term evolution), plus the use of additional unused spectrum and increased cell site density, will be insufficient to deliver the anticipated capacity requirements.
Many of these requirements will arise in dense and highly focused areas of usage, characterised by a continual level of peak demand. These are locations where usage patterns are not about peak times followed by troughs—a sudden influx of mobile-enabled spectators at a sports stadium, for example. These are the full-on, heavy-up, always-on, maximum capacity demand areas where the network edge has to perform as robustly and reliably as the network core, e.g. universities and airports, and also towns and cities with dense populations, state-of-the-art shopping malls and corporate campuses. For each such location, there is a self-evident need for capacity and coverage. With the increasing adoption of ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policies in the corporate world, the campus office complex becomes a city in itself and needs to contend with intense mobile data users ‘round the clock’ – sometimes in extremely large multiples of thousands. There is a solution for operators seeking to inject greater capacity into their networks. The solution is ‘intelligent’ carrier-class Wi-Fi, which is a solution that can be rapidly deployed.
What is Carrier-Class Wi-Fi?
In order to provide carrier-class, intelligent Wi-Fi, a collection of technologies all designed to extend the range and reliability of wireless signals, while eliminating the bulk of the cost and complexity of conventional wireless LAN (WLAN) deployments, is required. The latest advances in carrier-class Wi-Fi being increasingly deployed by APAC operators include beam steering, beam forming, adaptive signal path selection, quality of service, traffic classification, and RF routing. Carrier-class antenna systems, for example, must combine multi-element antenna arrays and best path selection algorithms to continually find the ideal route for a Wi-Fi signal to a given client at any time. As a further example, operators must select the right mesh networking system – which provides the ability to construct an adaptive, resilient, reliable high-speed wireless mesh network. This will provide operators with a high-speed 802.11n mesh backbone link between mesh access points (APs). In addition, you need mesh networking that is truly self-configuring. The AP takes on the appropriate personality of a root, intermediate mesh node or leaf node, dynamically, and without any user intervention. This is unlike conventional Wi-Fi mesh systems, where such personality settings have to be statically configured ahead of time by the user, which is both time-consuming and non-optimal, as best paths change due to interference and other real time network changes.
Augmenting the mobile network with carrier-class Wi-Fi addresses the capacity crunch in any of the location types previously mentioned. In India, Tikona Digital Networks has achieved what was previously considered impossible: they have built the world’s largest, self-organizing outdoor Wi-Fi mesh network comprised of more than 40,000 access points. Tikona’s intelligent carrier-class Wi-Fi network is being used to offer tiered broadband services over Wi-Fi to hundreds of thousands of subscribers across more than 30 cities in India.
Carrier-Class Wi-Fi Connects Millions at APAC Airports
In the travel sector, broad, worldwide adoption by many of the busiest airports is underway. They are looking to bring reliable, high-performance Wi-Fi connectivity to highly trafficked, high-density passenger terminals. With hundreds of thousands of business and leisure travellers carrying smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices when they pass through airport terminals and guest lounges, the need for high-capacity, high-performance Wi-Fi connectivity has become an expected service. As such, they are turning to carrier-class, intelligent Wi-Fi systems to provide their users with the best possible connectivity. Beijing Capital International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, China’s two busiest airports by passenger traffic, are now using carrier-class Wi-Fi technology and products to offer high-speed wireless networking guest access, as well as to support digital signage and other applications.
India’s largest airport, Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), has also installed carrier-class Wi-Fi access points throughout its international and domestic terminals, and is initially offering free multi-megabit Wi-Fi services to millions of passengers that pass through the airport every year. CSIA operates five terminals over an operational area of 1,450 acres (5.9 km2) – handling over 29.1 million passengers in 2010.
Finally, KL International Airport (KLIA) in Kuala Lumpar, one of the largest airport sites in the world, has standardized on Wi-Fi products and technology, initially to provide free high-speed hotspot services to the passengers that visit KLIA every year. The carrier-class, intelligent Wi-Fi network will also be used by airline, ground handling and aircraft engineering staff to access an array of applications.
Explaining that China, India and Japan are all at different stages of technology adoption, analysts at Forrester Research report that …”online behaviour in three of Asia’s largest economies is changing rapidly as the rise of Internet penetration, social media and its associated activities, and the proliferation of mobility, permeate the society they represent.”
Differences in culture create different requirements of the Internet, ranging from social usage – Twitter, Facebook, blog reading and creation – to shopping, retail, media and entertainment. One thing’s for sure, on-the-go connection is critical and capacity is at a crunch. Intelligent, carrier class Wi-Fi can and will deliver for MNOs and their subscribers. Supporting networks for all this increased traffic by numerous communicating devices must be able to address them and connect them efficiently, via IPv6.