DALLAS – June 1 — Carrier-class Wi-Fi has been tossed around for some time now, but now, a company called SKSpruce has upped the Wi-Fi ante with “smart Wi-Fi.” This solution is the next generation of carrier Wi-Fi that may well change the end-user Wi-Fi landscape.
One of Wi-Fi’s biggest challenges has been Wi-Fi roaming. Now, this company has developed a solution that will allow carriers to deploy Wi-Fi and include it in the network, seamlessly.
How that is accomplished is by leveraging the new 802,11ac standard and encapsulating it in such a way that the carrier can deploy it. This solution actually sits in the carrier’s core LTE network and complements the cell site by increasing capacity. This solution is very applicable to situations in dense environments such as a city core, beach community, transportation hub, stadium, mall, campus or any area where there is a lot of indoor/outdoor RF density. SKSpruce has deployed a flagship system that has just under 500,000 APs – impressive by any angle.
This uses the model of pre-authentication, meaning the handset is already authenticated so it can, seamlessly, transfer between the Wi-Fi and LTE network. This is much different from the enterprise Wi-Fi network because all of handoffs and decisions on which network to use are handled by the carrier’s core network, completely transparent to the user, because all of the Wi-Fi APs are already cleared, greatly improving QoS. The critical element here is that the carrier handles the handoffs, which is the main issue in enterprise networks.
This is a shift from the traditional carrier position because it opens the traditional IMS core and allows for apps like Wi-Fi calling, which uses an untrusted IPSec tunnel. Yet this solution secures the tunnel so communications remain secure. A very avant-garde product.