Wi-Fi technology is being rapidly implemented in a range of devices like smartphones, tablets, phablets and other consumer electronics. The rise in adoption of mobile equipments and increased use of Wi-Fi over these electronic devices has resulted in sharp rise in wireless data traffic. This makes service providers struggle for increased network demand and upgraded network capacity to ensure smooth wireless connectivity. A conventional cellular network uses macro cells that make it an inadequate solution for the endless requirements of Wi-Fi and the rising influx of mobile broadband data traffic. Thus, wireless service providers are moving traffic away from their cellular networks to carrier Wi-Fi which uses small cell technology and addresses the capacity and congestion needs of today’s wireless subscribers. Carrier Wi-Fi can be applied in locations like community Wi-Fi implementations and public hotspot deployments such as cafes, campuses and universities.
Security on open networks has always been of a prime concern to end-users as well as service providers all over the globe. Unprotected Wi-Fi networks, particularly in public places, are most certainly a threat. Carrier Wi-Fi offers carrier grade security meaning the Wi-Fi network is hardened to protect it from common security threats such as virus, spam spoofing and spyware among others. This is compelling the demand of carrier Wi-Fi which in turn is motivating the growth of the carrier Wi-Fi market. Thus, the global carrier Wi-Fi market is expected to grow significantly during the forecast period 2014 – 2022.
Currently, service providers are considering Wi-Fi as a strategically important offering that can enhance their reputation and augment the sales. Besides speed and convenience, customer experience is a key driver in adoption of Wi-Fi by end-users. Carrier Wi-Fi helps in improvement in quality of service, revenue generation and ease of use. This is creating a revolution in the market and is now being embraced by an ever growing number of carriers.
Currently, carrier-grade Wi-Fi experts are working to set requirement techniques that enable intelligent frequency band selection based on traffic congestion levels and RF power transmission. They are also working on Self-organizing network (SON) practices which facilitate in managing large-scale Wi-Fi deployments with multiple access points. Furthermore, 2014 marked the advent of Hotspot 2.0, a Wireless Broadband Alliance standard which facilitates phones to shift seamlessly between cellular and Wi-Fi networks. This technology is a boon for the mushrooming Carrier Wi-Fi market. Such technological innovations are expected to get introduced in near future which will release new business avenues for this market.
Geographically, the market is expected to grow tremendously in the U.S. due to increased data traffic and fluctuating loads of networks. The mobile subscriptions in India and China are growing by leaps and bounds. With the growing penetration of smartphones, the consumption of mobile traffic is bound to increase in these regions making Asia Pacific an emerging market for Carrier Wi-Fi, paving way for new opportunities to telecom operators. The key players of the market include Cisco Systems Inc., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd and Ruckus Wireless, Alcatel-Lucent Inc., ADTRAN Inc., Airvana Inc., Aruba Networks Inc and BelAir Networks Inc.
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