Strategy: 3G/4G & Wi-Fi Convergence

Oct 13, 2011


Convergence of 3G/4G and Wi-Fi

Need proof that mobility is hot? More than 500,000 mobile-specific applications are available across superfast networks, and Cisco projects data demand will almost double every year for the next five years. There's just one problem: Today's cellular networks don't have sufficient capacity to handle all this traffic. Increasingly, operators are looking to Wi-Fi as one way of shifting some of the load. To motivate users to limit their cellular 3G/4G data use, operators have introduced tiered plans where pricing is usage-based on cellular connections but free with Wi-Fi. 

For companies now paying by the gigabyte, using Wi-Fi instead of 3G/4G should translate to lower costs, even the possibility of using less-expensive pricing plans. It's not that simple, though. While a Wi-Fi connection can be just as fast as a 3G or 4G link, there are questions: What happens when users switch in midsession? Which applications should have access to what network? How do we address security and management? It's also an evolving environment, with the way cellular networks handle Wi-Fi off-load poised to change over the next several years as vendors implement new standards. In this report, we'll explain how enterprises can benefit through prudent use of Wi-Fi off-load and touch on some developments IT should watch. (S3641011)

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